Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries made a statement that the “genetically modified” tomato will not be considered GMO.
Japan distinguishes gene editing techniques from other genetic engineering techniques. The first example in this regard was a tomato whose genes were rearranged with CRISPR-Cas9 technology. The relevant Ministries decided that this tomato will not be considered within the scope of “genetically modified organism” (GMO). The decision was announced on December 11, 2020.
The tomato in question was produced in Japan as a joint venture of a university and a private sector firm. Part of the research costs were covered by the Japanese government’s Inter-ministerial Strategic Innovation Support Programme.
Genetically engineered tomato will be available for sale…
Tomatoes are expected to be put into commercial circulation. Unlike the first genetically modified plant samples, a extragenous gene has not been added to the product, but instead, the genes already in the plant were rearranged using CRISPR-Cas9 technology. Thanks to the decision taken, products produced with this technology will not be considered GMO, so they will not pass through the safety assessment process that GMO products do.
Thanks to the gene editing, the level of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) is increased in the new product. GABA is one of the amino acids not included in the protein structure. This substance is thought to be effective in lowering blood pressure in high blood pressure patients.