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April 16, 2012 2:33 pm

U.S Funds “Flu Shot” for Plants Undertaken by Israeli Company

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Researchers with Morflora. Photo: Haaretz Tumblr page.

The U.S. government is co-funding Israeli trials testing a new way to immunize plants and make them less susceptible to disease.

“When you get a flu shot, it is thanks to the field of immunology that was developed 100 years ago… There is a distant parallel to this in the plant world, but the vulnerability of plants to pests is much greater,” said Dotan Peleg, CEO of the company developing the technology, Morflora. “To make them resistant to disease, their DNA has to be modified, either by way of the classical breeding tools of cultivation or by genetic engineering.”

Morflora is comprised of six scientists whose research is now conducted parallel with research in Jerusalem laboratories and other studies in the Florida-based U.S. Department of Agriculture facility. “We are apparently the first company in history to succeed in applying the immunization revolution in plants,” Peleg said.

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