Success of CRISPR tomato may determine if gene-edited foods take root in Japan

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Credit: Sanatech Seed
Credit: Sanatech Seed

[A gene-edited tomato recently approved in Japan] contains a large amount of “gamma-aminobutyric acid” (a type of amino acid, commonly known as GABA), which is a component that lowers blood pressure and relaxes the mind. The product name is “Sicilian Rouge High Gaba.” Of course, this is the first approval of genome-edited foods [in Japan].

[Sanatech Seed CEO Tatsuo Takeshita] announced a surprising debut strategy of “distributing seedlings to applicants free of charge through online applications.”

This genome-edited food does not incorporate genes from the outside. This is a big difference from GM crops incorporating genes from external organisms. [Scientists] only changed the combination of genes that the tomatoes originally had.

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Seed sales (direct sales) to farmers are likely to be from summer to autumn this year. The company says that the price is undecided. Whether or not genome-edited foods will take root in Japan in the future depends on what kind of reaction the free distribution of seedlings will have. 

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in Japanese and has been translated and edited for clarity.

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