Population Control of Invasive Plant Species by Gene Silencing and Restoration of Native Plant Communities

Case ID:

Population Control of Invasive Plant Species by Gene Silencing and Restoration of Native Plant Communities  

WSU Tech#: 13-1173

Technology Summary:

The invention utilizes a gene silencing processes to control the spread of invasion plant species and to restore native plant communities. Developed a gene-silencing vector that has been successfully applied to a number of dicot plant species.  This vector acts to suppress the activity of specific genes by targeting the initial products of the gene for degradation. As long as the exact gene sequence is known, any gene may theoretically be chosen for treatment.  The vector cannot spread either systemically through the plant or be transferred incidentally to other individuals and thus should be safe to apply in an open area.


Competitive Advantages


Primary competition is from government agencies that are trying to control invasive populations (National Forrest Service, DNR, NOAA, etc.).  Even though they are listed as major competitors, they are also the likely end users of the technology.


Benefit Analysis:

Invasive plants can cause wildfires to occur more often and burn more intensely. The US Forest Service spends nearly 2.2 billion per year on wild fires.  The economic cost of invasive plants is estimated at more than $34 billion per year and the costs continue to grow.  Currently the US Forrest Service, EPA and other agencies grind up invasive plants and then use herbicide to kill everything in the affected area.  This is a very labor intensive process and he mentioned if there was an easier way to do the same job, the Forrest Service would definitely be interested. 


Stage of Development:





Patent Status:


Through the Office of Technology Commercialization at Wayne State University, we have filed an extensive and detailed PCT patent application.


Licensing Opportunity:

WSU is looking for commercial partners interested in furthering the validation of this technology and bringing the technology to market.  The inventors would be open to assist in the generation of SBIR/STTR grants to fund the further development of this technology.

Contact for Further Information:  

 Frank Urban, MS, CBA, BA.   email: frank.urban@wayne.edu   Phone (mobile): (734) 355-0730


Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Tech Transfer Staff
Wayne State University
Edward Golenberg
Carl Freeman