Barley production of recombinant proteins
Production of recombinant proteins in plants is a relatively new field with a lot of advantages over the traditional protein production platforms, such as low cost of biomaterial generation, ease of scalability and absence of human pathogens. In Iceland, ORF Genetics has successfully genetically modified barley to produce high value proteins. The barley is grown in a geothermal greenhouse all year round and traditional agricultural methods, such as harvesting and milling, are used to prepare the barley grains for high technology biochemical processing. The recombinant proteins produced and marketed by ORF Genetics are used both for medical research, under a brand name ISOkine, and for skin care applications. Examples are two ISOkine growth factors, murine Leukemia Inhibitory Factor (mLIF) and Fibroblast Growth Factor basic (FGFb) are two of the best characterized growth factors for maintenance of stem cells and the barley produced Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is predominantly used in EGF skin care products. Proteins produced in barley are therefore of great value both on consumer markets, as the case of EGF in skin care products shows, as well as being highly applicable in the very sensitive and complex stem cell systems and for regenerative medicine research, such as the case of mLIF and FGFb shows.