Background: Agricultural biotechnology, including the generation of genetically modified
food crops, has been the subject of much controversy over the last few years. Initially serving
the basic needs of farmers, Ag Biotech has more recently gained much appeal for its opportunities
with respect to both the nutritional and pharmaceutical sciences.
Methods: The following review describes a number of recently approved patents that could have
direct implications for the field of medicine. Topics range from the development of pharmaceuticals
in plants using hairy roots or virus expression vectors, to the role of epigenetics for improving
the nutritional value of food crops.
Results: Many of these patents were developed by smaller companies or publically funded research
institutes, disproving the perception that intellectual property in Ag Biotech is restricted to only
large multinational corporations.
Conclusion: The review concludes with a discussion of the future of these technologies in the face
of the current negative political climate.