Arcadia Biosciences (Arizona, USA) and Anawah Inc (Washington, USA) are working together on developing ricin-free castor bean varieties via nontransgenic route. Arcadia’s objectives is to turn off the genes responsible for ricin production in castor through mutagenesis.
The mutated plants is subjected to a high speed screening methods known as TILLING. Through traditional breeding methods, specific mutants are then crossed with castor varieties containing other desirable traits and developed into ricin-free castor varieties and hybrids.
The 1st commercial production of ricin-free castor could occur as early as 2006. In addition to ricin-free castor, Arcadia hopes to develop varieties with reduced levels of allergens, higher oil, higher ricinoleic acid, and improved agronomics.
Source: www.oleoline.com vom 2003-06-23.