Rice Genome Landscape

This landscape is a work in progress and is designed to provide an overview of the policies involved with the patenting of the rice genome. We also provide an analysis of the genes and proteins that are claimed in United States patents and patent applications that have significant homology to the fully-sequenced rice genome.

Rice Genome Landscape Contributors

  • Kerry Fluhr
  • Wei Yang
  • Kerry Mills
  • Marie Connett-Porceddu
  • Richard Jefferson
  • Carol Nottenburg
  • Neil Bacon

Be a Part of the Effort: Become a Guest Contributor

CAMBIA is working to redefine the scope and utility of Patent Landscapes by developing a landscaping framework that allows experts to participate in the process. We recognize that many of you, as readers of the rice genome landscape, may have imporant knowledge or insights to contribute. We encourage all interested readers to become involved in this work – with the view to improving the structure and content for all.

By joining our team as a Guest Contributor, you will be able add value to this landscape by creating, editing, and annotating pages in the landscape. We encourage guest contributors to identify themselves on their profiles. Anonymous profiles will only be allowed under extenuating circumstances.

How it works:

  • Start by submitting your profile to us.
  • The Administrator will review your request and create a profile for you.
  • You will be then be provided with a login via email.
  • Access rights are limited only to editing and adding documents on the Rice Genome landscape, and does not include other CAMBIA, BiOS, Patent Lens, or other related sites.

Need more information?

  • Should you need more information before proceeding with requesting access, please contact the Rice Genome Technology Landscape Administrator, Kerry Fluhr.

Rice Genome Landscape Executive Summary

Rice is a hugely important food crop for the world’s population.  It’s importance goes beyond food security; rice plays a large economic and cultural role as well in many countries.  Rice production must increase in order to sustain those who depend upon it.  Besides traditional breeding methods, biotechnological methods are being applied to improve production.  Some of these methods rely upon knowledge of the rice genome and use of genetic sequences.

This landscape is meant to support policymakers in assessing the implact of patent activity affecting access to the genetic material of rice.  Lack of coherent information about the current holdings of patents in this field can hamper effective policies and research and development.  To this purpose, the patent landscape presented here examines patents and patent applications directed to any part of the rice genome, directly analyzing the degree to which granted and pending patents cover the rice genome.

The landscape was produced by first compiling a comprehensive collection of patent sequences that are recited in the claims of United States granted patents and patent applications. Sequences were compiled from both NCBI and the USPTO.  A program (MEGABLAST) was used to identify nucleotide sequences that are highly similar to sequences in the rice genome. To qualify as a “hit”, the sequence had to be at least 150 nucleotides in length and have a a probability value of 1e-200 or less. Matches with such values are highly statistically significant.  Major findings include:

  • 182 granted patents recite rice sequences; of these, 151 (83%) have claims that explicitly claim rice sequences or sequences highly similar to rice.
  • Yet, only 0.26% of the rice genome and less than 1.0% of coding sequence is claimed in these U.S. patents.
  • While there are somewhat more patent applications – 313 U.S. applications – that recited rice sequences in claims, the sequences encompass about 74% of the rice genome. The high degree of genome coverage is largely due to “bulk sequence applications” that are published with claims to large numbers of sequences.
  • Despite the large fraction of genome coverage, it is unlikely that more than a tiny number of these sequences will actually be claimed in granted patents; already approximately 30% of the patent applications have been abandoned and U.S. patent law currently only allows one sequence to be claimed in a patent.
  • The assignee with the largest number of rice sequence patents is du Pont, which includes Pioneer Hi-Bred.  Monsanto has filed a large number of the bulk sequence applications.

While there is relatively low amount of rice gene patenting in the U.S., patenting of rice genome in key rice-growing countries was not assessed.  The amount of patenting in these other countries will depend on a number of factors, including whether and to what extent such patents are allowable, the effect of publication of sequences in U.S. patent applications and other publications, and the status of a patent system in these countries.  Because of the undisputed importance of rice, further analysis of patenting in other countries is warranted.  It is hoped that the information in this patent landscape will guide new analyses.