Researchers at Cardiff University in the UK have confirmed that horizontal transfer of transgenic DNA occurs at detectable levels using a similar system . Transgene sequences kanamycin resistance ( nptII ) and green flourescent protein (gfp) were driven by their own bacterial promoters. Recipient bacteria carried a copy of these two genes with deletions in their 3’ ends abolishing marker activity. Successful recombination between the plant transgene and the bacterial genome resulted in restoration of the markers, allowing detection through antibiotic selection and fluorescence. Measurable transformation frequencies were obtained in increasingly complex conditions approaching field conditions. In sterile soil microcosms, transformation was detected using pure plant DNA at x 10 -8 and in ground leaves at x 10 -11 transformants per recipient; for non-sterile soil using pure plant DNA, the frequency was x 10 -11 transformants per recipient.
Metabolic disease is a very large area of medical need and is another area in which we focus our drug discovery and development efforts. Our approach is to develop antisense drugs that doctors can add to existing therapies to treat diabetes. One hurdle for traditional drug development is that most traditional drugs cannot selectively target a disease-causing protein without also affecting closely related proteins, which often results in unwanted side effects. We design our antisense drugs to target the gene responsible for producing the disease-causing protein while avoiding unwanted effects on closely related proteins, thereby reducing the risk of side effects.