Elibio Rech

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Elibio Rech

Elibio Rech
Elibio Rech.png
Born(1956-11-15)November 15, 1956
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
EducationBachelor's degree in Agronomy Engineering
Master's degree in plant pathology
Doctoral degree in life sciences
Alma materUniversity of Brasilia
University of Nottingham
OccupationMolecular engineer

Elibio Rech (born November 15th, 1956 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is a molecular engineer and geneticist. He is a research scientist at EMBRAPA[1] and director of the National Institute of Science and Technology on Synthetic Biology.[2]

Early life and career

In the 1960s, Rech attended elementary and part of high school in Rio de Janeiro. In the 1970s, he moved along with his family to Asunción, Paraguay, where he lived for 3 three years and completed his high school education. Rech earned his bachelor's degree in Agronomy Engineering at the University of Brasilia, Brazil,[3] where he completed his degree by presenting the results of the socio-economic study of savanna farming. In 1983, Rech earned his master's degree in plant pathology at the same university, studying the antagonistic effects of Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas spp., and Trichoderma harzianum on phytopathogenic fungi. In 1989, Rech earned his doctoral degree in life sciences at the University of Nottingham, England,[4] where he studied the effects of electric fields and Agrobacteria on gene transfer into plants. He carried out his postdoctoral research on the manipulation of yeast artificial chromosomes as part of the Human Genome Project at the University of Nottingham in collaboration with the University of Oxford, England.[5] In 1990, Rech returned to Brasilia as a research scientist, and since then he has been working for the Brazilian Agricultural Corporation (EMBRAPA). In 2002, Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso awarded Rech the title of “Comendador” in the Order of Scientific Merit. In 2005, Rech was elected Fellow of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences;[6] and in 2007, he was elected Fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.[7]

General information

Elibio Rech has pioneered studies to further understand the process of selecting germ-line-transformed leguminous plants by the use of Recombinant DNA technology. Rech has elucidated how to select transgenic cells from the apical region by modulating the activity and derived the effect of specific molecules from developing a system for the production of high-frequency-transgenic leguminous plants. Since 1981, Rech has dedicated a career at Embrapa for the development and application of recombinant DNA and gene transfer technologies to developing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), that enable scientists to monitor cellular function and its phenotypes. Over the last four decades, Rech is focused on basic and applied advances in science and technology. Rech's laboratory has engineered plants, opening new windows to the studies of basic cellular function and product development. He has played a fundamental role for the development of soybean seeds carrying genes, which confer herbicide tolerance, and in the development of its use as a worldwide option for soybean growers. Rech has coordinated a foundation project to generate soybean transgenic events before being introduced in breeding programs. To develop genetically modified soybean plants, Rech used his patented innovative process to produce leguminous plants at a high frequency. In December 2010, a new genetically modified soybean line was approved for commercial use by the National Technical Commission of Biosafety. Rech has also directed his research towards the development of a platform for the production of cyanovirin-N, a non-antiretroviral (ARV) microbicide against HIV in engineered soybean seeds; production of functional human growth hormone (GH) and human coagulation factor IX in soybean seeds; an underglycosylated and a potent form of the HIV‐neutralizing monoclonal antibody 2G12 in rice endosperm; production of human coagulation factor IX in animals; metabolic engineering of soybean seeds fatty acids composition to achieve high oleic acid and low palmitic acid; and unraveling the spiders’ genomes from the Brazilian biodiversity; and production of synthetic spider-like fibers in vitro, utilizing proprietary technologies.

Main current scientific activities

Rech's current research activities include the development of complex genomes as a platform for editing and engineering, directed towards biotech applications. Rech's current focus involves exploring the utilization of computational algorithms based on whole systems to simultaneously design, construct, and engineer functional synthetic genomes utilizing minimal cells of different pro/eukaryotic lineages. His techniques involve gene switches, genetic circuits, artificial chromosomes, and delivery of Mbp sequences to cells. Rech is applying his concept of the synthetic domestication of specific biodiversity traits as a foundation for conservation and a viable option to intensify and expand the utilization of recombinant DNA for food security and health care.

Remarks on supply, transportation, and development of sustainable equity

Available scientific data indicate that the introduction of technologies into the production sectors constitute a crucial component underlying the promotion of systemic and sustainable progress advances for society. However, sustainable progress will be achieved only when it is intrinsically related and equalized with components such as human health, high quality education, food security, environmental focus, and added market value. Rech is a member of the board of the Genetic Heritage Management Council (CGen)[8] and the Brazilian National Authority for Access and Benefit Sharing, following the Nagoya Protocol agreement that regulates the Access to genetic resources and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. Rech believes that to be functional, the implementation and improvement of this legal framework, including utilizing CGen resolutions must take into account not only the concerns of different scientific groups but also those of other sectors of society, such as industry, indigenous peoples, traditional knowledge, family farmers, and environmental Non-Governmental organizations. Conservation of biodiversity in line with regulatory and ethical concepts will form the foundation for the development of products being carefully and responsibly evaluated before being made commercially available.

Product development

BASF and EMBRAPA approved a technology developed in Brazil, which is the number one soybean exporter and second-largest soybean producer, for soybean growers in Brazil and worldwide.[9][10] Soybean growers will benefit from better weed control with less resource input, resulting in higher farm productivity, which will significantly impact the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The scope for genetically modified (GM) soybean crops contributing to lower levels of GHG emissions comes from two principal sources: reduced fuel use from less frequent herbicide or insecticide applications, and a reduction of energy in soil cultivation. The fuel savings associated with less frequent spray runs (compared to the required ones for conventional crops) and the switch to conserved, reduced and no-till farming systems have resulted and will continue to result in permanent savings in carbon dioxide emissions. The herbicide-tolerant soybean is the first genetically modified product developed in Brazil by EMBRAPA and BASF. The package includes herbicide-tolerant genes supplied by BASF, which Rech and his colleagues inserted into soybean utilizing EMBRAPA's innovative and proprietary technology. The cooperation between the two companies dates back to 1997. This herbicide-tolerant technology provides farmers with an alternative weed control system that effectively manages a broad spectrum of weeds, including those difficult to control. This technology reduces the amount of herbicide per hectare needed to control weeds and maximizes the availability of water and nutrients for soybeans. This low-use rate system will also help the farmers to plan and manage soybean weed control; and thus, it will reduce the consumption of agricultural resources in the field. This system also requires less machinery and equipment, less effort for farmers and less specialized labor; and it will result in fewer GHG emissions. All the knowledge acquired by EMBRAPA since its establishment in 1973 has been helpful for the Brazilian agribusiness industry as well as for Brazil's current position in the world agribusiness stage. Brazil and EMBRAPA are benchmarks in technology dedicated to tropical agriculture. Brazil is a global leader in the production and export of agricultural and farming products. Projections indicate that it will be the world's leading center for the production of biofuels made from sugar cane and vegetable oils in the near future. This public-private partnership illustrates the capabilities of Brazil in agricultural biotechnology, showing the world its ability to generate innovation, which is crucial in today's society. EMBRAPA pursues various research venues and advanced biotechnologies, and its studies are conducted according to principles of sustainability, making EMBRAPA a pioneer in meeting the challenges of generating wealth and reducing environmental impact. While working at EMBRAPA, Rech has coordinated the foundation project to result in transgenic plants and elite events. Rech utilized his patented innovative process to produce leguminous plants at high frequency to develop genetically modified soybean plants.


Elibio Rech is married and has one biological daughter and three sons (from the heart). As a lifetime amateur athlete, Rech is actively involved in endurance sports (biking, running, swimming, and windsurfing) and has a healthy attitude of mind and body equilibrium. As Agnostic atheist, Rech meditates and uses nature as his inspiration. After performing deep thinking and reflection exercises about knowledge at the frontier of scientific capability and the power that science is directing humankind towards a better world. This belief has caused him to reach the limits near what he can learn about life creation prospects. Therefore, Rech concludes that an unlimited overall force exists in nature, which he speculates that could be God or His creation. This fact has supported and helped him pursue his interest in studies on living species aiming to improve life on our planet.

Selected publications in scientific journals

  1. GRAHAM, S.A., COELHO, G.J.P., MURAD, A.M., RECH, E.L., CAVALCANTI, T.B. Patterns of fatty acid composition in seed oils of Cuphea, with new records from Brazil and Mexico. Industrial Crops and Products, 87:379-391. 2016.
  2. VAMVAKA, E., TWYMAN, R.M., MURAD, A.M., MELNIK, S., TEH, A.Y.H., ARCALIS, E., ALTMANN, F., STOGER, E., RECH. E.L., MA. J.K.C., CHRISTOU, P., CAPELL, T. Rice endosperm produces an underglycosylated and potent form of the HIV‐neutralizing monoclonal antibody 2G12. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 14:97-108. 2016.
  3. CASTRO, G.M., LIMA, M.F., FONSECA, M.E.N., BOITEUX, L.S. First Report of Papaya ringspot virus-Type W Infecting Fevillea Species (Cucurbitaceae) in South America, Plant Disease, 100:2540. 2016.
  4. O’KEEFE, B.R., MURAD, A.M., VIANNA, G.R., RAMESSAR. K., SAUCEDO, C.J., WILSON, J., BUCKHEIT. K.W., CUNHA, N.B., ARAUJO, A.C., LACORTE, C., MADEIRA, L., MCMAHON, J.B., RECH, E.L. Engineering soya bean seeds as a scalable platform to produce cyanovirin-N, a non-ARV microbicide against HIV. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 13:884-892. 2015.
  5. SILVA, L.P., RECH, E.L. Scrutinizing the datasets obtained from nanoscale features of spider silk fibres. Scientific Data 1 (Nature), article number: 140040. 2014.
  6. MURAD, A.M., VIANNA, G.R., MACHADO, A.M., CUNHA, N.B., COELHO, C.M., LACERDA, V.A.M, COELHO, M.C., RECH, E.L. Mass spectrometry characteriszation of fatty acids from metabolically engineered soybean seeds. Analityytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, 406:2873-2883. 2014.
  7. CUNHA, N.B., VIANNA, G.R., LIMA, T.A., RECH, E.L. Molecular farming of human cytokines and blood products from plants: Challenges in biosynthesis and detection of plant‐produced recombinant proteins. Biotechnology Journal, 9:39-50. 2014.
  8. SILVA L.P., RECH E.L. Unravelling the biodiversity of nanoscale signatures of spider silk fibres. Nature Communications 4, article number:3014; DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4014. 2013.
  9. TOKAREVA, O., MICHALCZECHEN-LACERDA, V.A., RECH, E.L., KAPLAN, D.L. Recombinant DNA production of spider silk proteins. Microbial Biotechnology, 6:651-663. 2013.
  10. CUNHA, N.B., VIANNA, G.R., LIMA, T.A., RECH, E. Molecular farming of human cytokines and blood products from plants: Challenges in biosynthesis and detection of plant-produced recombinant proteins. Biotechnology Journal, 8. DOI 10.1002/biot.201300062. 2013.
  11. PROSDOCIMI, F., BITTENCOURT, D., DA SILVA, F.R., KIRST, M., MOTTA, P.C., RECH, E.L. Spinning gland transcriptomics from two main clades of spiders (order: Araneae) - insights on their molecular, anatomical and behavioral evolution. PLoS One, 6: Issue 6; e21634. 2011.
  12. MURAD, A.M., SOUZA, GUSTAVO H. M. F., GARCIA J, RECH, ELIBIO L. Characterisation and quantitation expression analysis of recombinant proteins in plant complex mixtures using nanoUPLC mass spectrometry. NATURE Protocol Exchange v.3. DOI:10.1038/protex.2011.216. 2011.
  13. MURAD, A.M., RECH, E.L. Molecular dynamics simulations of the minor ampullate spidroin modular amino acid sequence from Parawixia bistriatra: insights into silk tertiary structure and fibre formation. Journal of Molecular Modeling, 17:1183-1189. 2011.
  14. CUNHA, N.B., MURAD, A.M., RAMOS, G.L., MARANHÃO, A.Q., BRÍGIDO, M.M., ARAÚJO, A.C.G., LACORTE, C., ARAGÃO, F.J. L., COVAS, D.T., FONTES, A.M., SOUZA, G. H. M. F., VIANNA, G.R., RECH, E.L. Accumulation of functional recombinant human coagulation factor IX in transgenic soybean seeds. Transgenic Research, 20:841-855. 2011.
  15. CUNHA, N.B., MURAD, A.M., CIPRIANO, T.M., ARAÚJO, A.C.G., ARAGÃO, F.J.L., LEITE, A., VIANNA, G.R., MCPHEE, T.R., SOUZA, G.H.M. F., WATERS, M.J., RECH, E.L. Expression of functional recombinant human growth hormone in transgenic soybean seeds. Transgenic Research, 20:811-826. 2011.
  16. VIANNA, G.R., CUNHA, N.B., MURAD, A.M., RECH, E.L. Soybeans as bioreactors for biopharmaceuticals and industrial proteins. Genetics and Molecular Research, 10: 1733-1752. 2011.
  17. PERRY, D.J., BITTENCOURT, D., SILTBERG-LIBERLES, J., RECH, E.L., LEWIS, R.V. Piriform Spider Silk Sequences Reveal Unique Repetitive Elements. Biomacromolecules, 11:3000-3006. 2010.
  18. BITTENCOURT, D., DITTMAR, K., LEWIS, R.V., RECH, E.L. A MaSp2-like gene found in the Amazon mygalomorph spider Avicularia juruensis. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. B, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 155:419-426. 2010.
  19. TEULÉ, F., COOPER, A. R., FURIN, W. A., BITTENCOURT, D., RECH, E.L., BROOKS, A., LEWIS, R. V. A protocol for the production of recombinant spider silk-like proteins for artificial fiber spinning. NATURE Protocols, 4:341-355. 2009.
  20. LISAUSKAS, S., CUNHA, NICOLAU B., VIANNA, GIOVANNI R., MENDES, ÉRICA A., RAMOS, GUSTAVO L., MARANHÃO, ANDRÉIA Q., BRÍGIDO, MARCELO M., ALMEIDA, JUSSARA O. S. C., BAPTISTA, HELOISA A., MOTTA, FABIANA L. T., PESQUERO, JOÃO B., ARAGÃO, FRANCISCO J. L., RECH, E. L. Expression of functional recombinant human factor IX in milk of mice. Biotechnology Letters, 30:2063-2069, 2008.
  21. LISAUSKAS, S., RECH, E.L., ARAGÃO, F.J.L. Characterization of transgene integration loci in transformed Madin Dardy bovine kidney cells. Cloning and Stem Cells, 9:45-460. 2007.
  22. ABUD, S., SOUZA, P.I.M., VIANNA, G.R., LEONARDCZ E., MOREIRA, C.T., Faleiro F.G., NUNES JUNIOR, J., MONTEIRO, P.M.F.O, RECH, E.L., ARAGÃO, F.J.L. Gene flow from transgenic to nontransgenic soybean plants in the cerrado region of Brazil. Genetics and Molecular Research, 6:445- 452. 2007.
  23. CARVALHO, D.M., SOUTO, B.M., VERZA, N.C., VINECKY, F., DITTMAR, K., SILVA JUNIOR, P.I., ANDRADE, A.C., da SILVA, F.R., LEWIS, R., RECH, E L Spidroins from the Brazilian spider Nephylengys cruentata (Araneae:Nephilidae). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. B, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, 147:597-606. 2007.
  24. NUNES, A.C.S., VIANNA, G.R., CUNEO, F., AMAYA-FARFAN, J., CAPDEVILLE, G. de, RECH, E.L, ARAGÃO, F.J.L. RNA-mediated silencing of the myo-inositol-1-phosphate synthase gene (GmMIPIS1) in transgenic soybean inhibited seed development and reduced phytate content. Planta, 224:125-132. 2006.
  25. LISAUSKAS, S., ARAGÃO, F.J.L., MEDEIROS, T., ALMEIDA, A., SOARES, A., Production of recombinant human coagulation Factor Ix in the milk of genetically modified mice. Haemophilia, 12:43. 2006.
  26. IGUMA, L.T., LISAUSKAS, S.F.C, MELO, E.O., FRANCO, M.M., PIVATO, I., VIANNA, G.R., SOUSA, R.V., DODE, M.A.N., ARAGÃO, F.J.L, RECH, E.L., RUMPF, R. Development of Bovine Embryos Reconstructed by Nuclear Transfer of Transfected and Non-Transfected Adult Fibroblast Cells. Genetics and Molecular Research, 4:55-66. 2005.
  27. OLIVEIRA, R.R, LISAUSKAS, S.F.C, MELLO, E., VIANNA, G.R., DODE, M.A.N., RUMPF, R., ARAGÃO, F.J.L., RECH E.L. Effectiveness of liposomes to transfect livestock fibroblasts. Genetics and Molecular Research, 4:185-196. 2005.
  28. ARAGÃO, F.J.L., VIANNA, G.R., CARVALHEIRA, S.B., RECH, E.L. Germ line genetic transformation in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) by selection of transgenic meristematic cells with an herbicide molecule. Plant Science, 168:1227-1233. 2005.
  29. MELO, E.O., SOUSA, R.V., IGUMA, L.T., FRANCO, M.M., RECH, E.L., RUMPF, R. Isolation of transfected fibroblast clones for use in nuclear transfer and transgene detection in cattle embryos. Genetics and Molecular Research, 4: 812-821. 2005.
  30. ABUD, S., SOUZA, P.I.M., MOREIRA, C.T., ANDRADE, S.R.M., ULBRICH, A.V., VIANNA, G.R., RECH, E.L., ARAGÃO, F.J.L. Dispersão de pólen em soja transgênica na região do Cerrado (Pollen dispersal of transgenic soybean plants in the Cerrado Region). Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira, 38:1229-1235. 2003.
  31. RIBEIRO, L.A., MARIANI, P.D.S.C., AZEVEDO, J.L., RECH, E.L., SCHMIDT, G.S. COUTINHO, L.L. A biolistic process for in vitro gene transfer into chicken embryos. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 34:1115-1124. 2001.
  32. ARAGÃO, F.J.L., SAROKIN, L., VIANNA, G.R., RECH, E.L. Selection of transgenic meristematic cells utilizing a herbicidal molecule results in the recovery of fertile transgenic soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merril] at a high frequency. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 101:1-6. 2000.
  33. RIBEIRO, L.A., AZEVEDO, J.L., ARAGÃO, F.J.L., RECH, E.L., SCHMIDT, G.S., COUTINHO, L.L. In situ DNA transfer to chicken embryos by biolistics. Genetics and Molecular Biology, 22:525-529. 2000.
  34. ARAGÃO, F.J.L., RIBEIRO, L., AZEVEDO, J.L., SCHIMIDT, G., COUTINHO, L.L., RECH, E.L. In situ DNA transfer to chicken embryos by biolistics. Genetics and Molecular Biology, 22:525-530. 1999.
  35. RECH, E.L., DE BEM, A.R., ARAGÃO, F.J.L. Biolistic mediated gene expression in cattle tissues in vivo. Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, 29:1265-1267. 1996.
  36. ARAGAO, F.J.L., LUNA, N.M., MIRANDA SANTOS, I.K.F., DE BEM, R., TANURI, A., RECH, E.L. In vivo transient gene expression in mice, guinea pigs and cattle utilizing the biolistic process. Revista Brasileira de Genética, l8:201. 1995.
  37. RECH, E.L., DOBSON, M.J., DAVEY, M.R., MULLIGAN, B.J. Introduction of a yeast artificial chromosome vector into Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells by electroporation. Nucleic Acids Research, 18:1313-1313. 1990.
  38. RECH, E.L., ALVES, E., DAVEY, M.R. Electroporation: A circuit diagram and computer programme for assessment of physical parameters on eukaryotic cells. Technique, 125:125-129. 1989.
  39. RECH, E.L., OCHATT, S.J., CHAND, P.K., DAVEY, M.R., MULLIGAN, B.J., POWER, B.J. Electroporation increases DNA synthesis in cultured plant protoplasts. NATURE Biotechnology, 6:1091-1093. 1988.
  40. ZHANG, H., YANG, H., RECH, E.L., GOLDS, T.J., DAVIS, A.S., MULLIGAN, B.J., COCKING, E.C., DAVEY, M.R. Transgenic rice plants produced by electroporation-mediated plasmid uptake into protoplasts. Plant Cell Reports, 7:379-384. 1988.


  2. SILK PROTEINS FROM THE SPIDERS NEPHYLENGYS CRUENTATA, AVICULARIA JURUENSIS, PARAWIXIA BISTRIATA, ISOLATED FROM THE BRAZILIAN BIODIVERSITY. Provisional Patent Application (PCT) filed in Mar 2007 PI0701826-6. Rech et al.; US Patent 13/749,601, 2014 2014/7/24. 2014.
  3. SOYBEAN EVENT 127 AND METHODS RELATED THERETO; BASF and EMBRAPA. The patent application was filed 07 Jan 2009 and it is now US Provisional Patent Application 61/143,049 – Elibio Rech; Adolfo Ulbrich; Francisco Aragão; Luiz Louzano; Tadashi Yotsumoto; Tim Malefyt; Dale Carlson; Carlos Arrabal; Bruce Luzzi; Siyuan Tan. 2009.
  4. A PROCESS FOR OBTAINING TRANSGENIC LEGUMINOUS PLANTS (LEGUMINOSAE) CONTAINING EXOGENOUS DNA. EMBRAPA – PCT patent; WO 99/18223; US6753458B1; PI9714887-3; Elibio Rech & Francisco José Lima Aragão. 1997.


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  4. "University of Nottingham". www.nottingham.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  5. "University of Oxford". www.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-01-30.
  6. "ABC – Academia Brasileira de Ciências" (in português do Brasil). Retrieved 2020-01-30.
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External links

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