I am thinking of a project where i would Gene edit a plants cells to produce anti bodies that humans could use. Does anyone know A. what genes to modify? B. Would the antibodies be usable after ingestion? C. What plants should be used? (I know next to nothing about botany)

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    Commented Jan 17, 2022 at 17:39
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1 Answer 1


To answer the "plants producing antibodies" part:


in 1989 scientists developed a technique to genetically alter a tobacco plant so it would produce monoclonal antibodies

Researchers had to adjust the West Nile virus antibody to adapt it for production in Nicotiana benthamiana, a relative of tobacco:

"We altered the genetic coding of the antibody slightly, not changing its parts but using alternate forms of the coding for those parts to maximize the plant's ability to produce it," says co-senior author Qiang Chen, Ph.D., of Arizona State. "We also stabilized the antibody, preventing copies of it from being degraded inside the plant cells. Together, those two techniques increased our average antibody yield by 60 percent above any previous efforts."

Although, the study acted as "proof of concept", the antibodies in question were only a partial success:

They found that one important receptor was binding appropriately, but the strength of a second receptor's bond was lowered.

"This results from the fact that plants combine their proteins with slightly different sugars than mammals," says co-senior author Michael Diamond, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine, of molecular microbiology and of pathology and immunology at Washington University. "We're already working on genetically modifying the plants to humanize the sugars the plants combine with the antibody's proteins."

The (successful) release and usage of ZMapp in 2014 against West-African Ebola virus outbreak virus furthered the public awareness of the technology.


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