Hexima’s key technologies have grown out of research into the intriguing question of self-incompatibility. Plants contain both male and female parts, and yet many plants in the wild successfully avoid inbreeding. Development of self-incompatibility in plants was an important step in the evolution of land plants. How plants recognise and reject their own pollen is a question which has fascinated scientists since Charles Darwin.
This issue again came to prominence in the 1980s when scientists first started cloning plant genes. A group of scientists, led by Professor Adrienne Clarke at the University of Melbourne, discovered the molecular basis of one form of self-incompatibility.
This research also led to the discovery of another series of genes, called proteinase inhibitors and defensins, which help the plant resist attack by insects and disease. Hexima was formed in 1998 to develop the commercial potential of these discoveries.
History and Overview