From Bio Journal - May 2015

GM rice with enhanced photosynthesis to be cultivated again this year

The NARO Institute of Crop Science will carry out again this year, in continuation from last year, the trial cultivation of the Calvin cycle rice. This GM rice has enhanced photosynthesis by the insertion of a gene originating in cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are marine vegetable plankton that provide large amounts of oxygen to the earthfs atmosphere through vigorous photosynthesis.

The Calvin cycle is the metabolic pathway of photosynthesis that takes place in the cells of leaves, and is a cycle which synthesizes sugars and starches from light, water and carbon dioxide. The aim of enhancement of the cycle is to increase the amount of sugars and starches synthesized.

The trial cultivation was planned to begin in late April with the sowing of seed and production of seedlings, which are then to be transplanted in fields in mid-May and harvested in late October. The rice varieties to be used are Nihonbare, Kusahonami, and Momiroman. These GM varieties and non-GM controls will be planted in fields of approximately 10 ares (0.1 ha) and the outcomes assessed.

Breeding of luminescent silk worms to continue

On 26 March 2015, MAFF announced it would solicit comments from the general public in accordance with the Japanese Cartagena law in order to carry out again this year breeding trials of silk worms that produce a silk thread giving off a green light. This silk worm is one into which a gene for luminescence originating in bioluminescent jellyfish has been inserted, and the breeding trials will be carried out at the NIAS Gunma Sericultural Technology Center in Maebashi City, Gunma Prefecture, to assess quality stability and environmental impacts.

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(English Index)