On 29 March 2018, the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) began accepting opinions from the public regarding the biodiversity impact assessment of the GM rice varieties it had developed. The rice varieties in question are the novokinin accumulating rice (see BJ February 2018
), for which outdoor trials in isolated fields are planned, and a sink function modified rice, for which outdoor trials in high-functioning isolated fields are planned. The sink function modified rice was developed using genome editing technology.
The novokinin accumulating rice is termed the "glutelin promoter-induced nfGluA2 accumulating rice" and is a rice variety that has been genetically modified to express the novokinin peptide in the albumen, the edible portion of rice. Novokinin is known to be effective against arteriosclerosis and in lowering blood pressure. Glutelin (Glu) is a protein that is a source of energy and is present in rice albumen. The gene that the promoter (a gene that causes other genes to switch on) promotes is the "novokinin peptide gene" that originates in the albumen of chicken egg whites. Peptides are like proteins that have been reduced in size. Genes originating in rice have been used for both the promoter and terminator (a gene that causes gene activity to end), but the gene used as the marker gene (a gene used to show whether the genetic modification has been successful or not) is a sulfonylurea herbicide resistant gene.