Japanese startup unveils genome-edited tomatoes for hypertension


A startup at the University of Tsukuba in Japan has begun selling a tomato cultivar that has been created using genome editing technology. This is the first such product on the Japanese market, writes Liga.net with reference to NHK.

Tokyo-based Sanatech Seed created Sicilian Rouge High GABA with the goal of four to five times more gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) than regular tomatoes. It is believed that this substance can prevent high blood pressure.

The authors of the “edited” fruit have achieved an increase in the content of this compound by removing the autoinhibitory domain from the plant genome, which encodes substances that limit the production of GABA.

A tomato with a “tweaked” genome is grown by farmers in greenhouses in Kumamoto Prefecture in southwestern Japan. Tomatoes are sold online for 7,500 yen ($ 68) for 3 kg.

The Japanese government does not require the product label to indicate that the organism has undergone genome editing, but Sanatech Seeds specifically focuses on this – this is their business strategy. The company is shipping packaging with a sticker “enhanced with genome editing technology.”

See also: Seedless Tomatoes Presented in Japan

Organisms “edited” at the genomic level are not the same as genetically modified ones: in the former, only their genes rule, and in GMOs, aliens are also introduced).

GMO (or genetically modified organism) is an organism whose genetic material has been artificially altered for scientific or economic purposes. There is no evidence that GMO organisms / tissues are harmful to the environment, biodiversity or human health. The consequences of consuming one or another “biotech” food are the same as those of consuming conventional foods. “Embedding” the genes of a GMO organism in human DNA is a fake, and the inscription “No GMO” on the packaging of goods is a purely marketing ploy.