Review of Achievements of Sector 2.1 Genetic Engineering of Virus and Cellular Genes Important in Animal Husbandry
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The stimulation of genetic engineering in animal husbandry. In only a few subjects was there a background of extensive genetic engineering research. For most of the 17 laboratories involved the BEP contracts provided the opportunity to initiate or extend an existing small effort in genetic engineering. Consequently this is reflected in the level of sophistication of the research done (see below). A great deal of the effort has been directed towards finding, cloning and sequencing the desired genes. Very little has yet been done on the use and expression of these genes and this will probably be a major emphasis of many of the Biotechnology Action Programme projects in this area.
The production of research of interest to industry. While much of the work must be regarded as foundational and exploratory rather than immediately applicable there was a growing involvement of industry during the programme. This interest was highlighted by the attendance of representatives of nine major European biotechnology companies at the last meeting of the contractants in Cambridge, April 1986. Except for one contract on foot and mouth disease virus, all the laboratories involved were in universities or research institutes. However, at the end of the contract six of the contractants reported that they had developed a relationship with at least one industrial firm interested in the potential of their research. In one case the firm and in another a national government agency responsible for the transfer of technology to industry, had agreed to fund the next phase of the research. As regards patents resulting from the BEP projects, one patent has been filed on the envelope glycoprotein of the chicken coronavirus, IBV and another patent is pending on the expression of rotavirus genes in E. coli.
The development of trans-national links. The annual meeting of the contractants brought together people of very diverse fields of research which was educational and sometimes resulted in the recognition and discussion of common problems, e. g. difficulties in obtaining expression. More significant however, was the development of trans-national links. This is most clearly illustrated by the fact that in the new Biotechnology Action Programme of the CEC, five of the 16 contracts awarded involve 11 laboratories from different countries brought together by the BEP programme.