A start-up launched at the University of Tsukuba has started selling a tomato variety developed with genome editing technology, the first food product of this kind ever to be put on the Japanese market.
Sanatech Seed Co. in Tokyo developed the variety by modifying genes so that it contains four to five times the usual amount of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a substance that can prevent blood pressure from rising. The product is sold online by Pioneer EcoScience Co., which established Sanatech in 2018.
Named Sicilian Rouge High GABA, the genome-edited tomato is grown in greenhouses by a contracted farmer in Kumamoto Prefecture.
Sanatech used genome editing technology to remove the autoinhibitory domain that prevents tomatoes from increasing their GABA content. However, the start-up did not add any genes that are not naturally found in the vegetable.
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