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

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”. 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.

Seed sales to farmers are likely to start this summer. 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. 

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