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POSTERS: Biotechnology and genetic engineering

Engineering high affinity protein ligands to plant pathogens and pests via continuous evolution
Jiarui Li - Bayer CropScience. Martha Collier- Innatrix Inc., Peter Reintjes- Innatrix Inc., Marshall Edgell- Innatrix Inc.

Crop yield losses due to pathogens and pests are a major threat for food security and sustainable agriculture worldwide. GM approaches and resistant varieties have been widely used to control plant pests and pathogens. However, pathogen and insect resistance against GM traits and resistant varieties are becoming serious issues.

Studies in other laboratories have identified many potential target proteins whose inhibition would improve crop yields. Our business Innatrix is developing continuous laboratory evolution technology for the production of high-affinity, high specificity protein ligands, which we expect to serve as inhibitors. An advantage of our methodology is that it can produce new inhibitors quickly (given the sequence of the resistant target) once resistance occurs. We have created our own evolution selection system (patent pending) using E.coli and M13 phage. Innatrix has also invented a proprietary apparatus named the EvoStat™. It is an automated platform for protein engineering via continuous laboratory evolution. The EvoStat™ provides advanced control of cultural conditions, reporting, recording, simulations, state of the evolution, and remote access, which enables us to easily explore the evolution of ligands to different targets or many evolution conditions in parallel.