Biotech Updates

Japan Gives Nod to Genome-edited Waxy Maize

April 12, 2023

The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries in Japan gave their green light to a high-starch maize variety on March 20, 2023. This is the fourth genome-edited food product that Japan did not subject to regulations for genetically engineered (GE) food, feed, and biodiversity.

The said maize variety had its waxy gene deleted using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to increase its starch amylopectin proportion to almost 100%, compared to the 75% amylopectin and 25% pectin proportion of conventional maize. The sticky texture of waxy maize makes it appealing to consumers, especially those in Asia, as it improves the smoothness and creaminess of food and dairy products. Amylopectin is also used by the textile and paper industries.

Other genome-edited food products that the Japanese government previously did subject to GE regulations are the high-GABA tomato, high-yield seabream, and fast-growing tiger pufferfish.

Read the USDA FAS GAIN report for more information.

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