1Department of Horticulture, Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
2Department of Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
Molecular farming, or bio-pharming, has recently received much of attention for production of valuable recombinant proteins, with a few already being marketed. The use of whole plants for synthesis of pharmaceutical proteins offers various advantages in economy, scalability and safety over conventional production systems. GM plants are suitable for the inexpensive production of large amounts of functional, recombinant macromolecules, such as blood substitutes, vaccines, anti-cancer antibodies, plasma proteins, enzymes, cytokines and growth factors, and the expressed proteins, ranging from the smallest antigen-binding domains, to full-length, and even multi-meric proteins, are almost comparable to their mammalian counterparts. Delivery of a biopharmaceutical product by direct ingestion of the modified food crops removes the need for purification. Such biopharmaceuticals and edible vaccines can be stored and distributed as seeds, tubers, or fruits, making immunization programs in developing countries potentially cheaper and easier. It is anticipated that this technology has the potential to greatly benefit human health by making safe recombinant pharmaceuticals widely available. Here, we discuss facts, recent developments and perspectives of this field in detail.