From Bio Journal - June 2023

Hiroshima University and Kewpie use original technology to develop low-allergen egg

In joint research with Kewpie, Hiroshima Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life Professor Hiroyuki Horiuchi and his research team have announced the development of a low-allergen chicken egg. Clinical trials will now begin at Sagamihara Hospital with the aim of commercialization of the egg. In this egg, the gene for ovomucoid, the major allergen in egg white, was knocked out using genome editing technology. The gene editing was not carried out using CRISPR-Cas9 but a Platinum TALEN technology developed by the Hiroshima University research team.

Eggs also contain many other allergenic proteins, such as ovalbumin, ovotransferrin, ovomucin, lysozyme, and so on. According to the research team, the allergenicity of allergens other than ovomucoid is reduced by heat. Low-allergen eggs will be produced by hatching chicks from chickens whose ovomucoid gene has been knocked out and having the second generation onwards lay eggs. The whole genome was sequenced as part of the research, and there is said to have been no problem. An outline of the development of the egg has been published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, March 12, 2023, online edition (Hiroshima University, April 26, 2023).

Professor Horiuchi and his team are also currently working on the introduction of a CRISPR-Cas9 DNA splicing cassette into primordial germ cells (PGC), cells that are precursors of sperm or egg cells, and hope by using this technology to produce a chicken that will not lay eggs that will result in male chickens. In addition, a research team under Isao Ohishi of the biomedical research division of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has introduced a CRISPR-Cas9 DNA splicing cassette into PGC and has developed a chicken that does not produce ovomucoid. This joint development by Hiroshima University and Kewpie, using Platinum TALEN technology patented in Japan, can be said to have created a serious movement toward the industrialization of this technology.

Genome-edited melon developed at Tsukuba University

Tsukuba University Professor Hiroshi Ezura has developed a genome-edited long shelf life melon through joint research between Sanatech Seed, a company he himself founded, and the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO). Ripening of this melon is prevented by not allowing the production of ethylene, which causes fruit to ripen, to be produced. The development utilized the iPB method, which inserts CRISPR-Cas9 directly into the growing point of the plant. In the past, Professor Ezura has been involved in the suppression of the ethylene synthesis gene through the genetic modification antisense method, conducting experiments to improve the shelf life of fruit, and it seems that he has now changed tack by moving from regulated genetic modification to unregulated genome editing.
(The Japan Agricultural News 2023/5/4 and others)

Corteva's genome-edited maize not commercially cultivated at present

On April 28, 2023, Corteva Agriscience Japan replied to questions submitted by the Consumers Union of Japan and other consumer organizations about the genome-edited maize for which the notification was accepted in March, making it possible to market the maize in Japan. In the response, the company stated, "The maize has been cultivated in the US for research and pre-marketing trial purposes, but at the present time commercial distribution and sales have not taken place," thereby clarifying that at present the maize has not been used for commercial cultivation.

Singapore cultured meat enterprise enters Japan market

Umami Meats, which has developed cultured fish meat in Singapore has now entered the Japan market. The enterprise plans to establish a Japan branch and carry out development in partnership with Japanese companies.
(Umami Meats 2023/5/11)

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