Aquaculture for all

Gene-edited sea bream set for sale in Japan

Genomics Sea bream +3 more

A startup that has edited the genes of red sea bream so that they produce a thicker fillet has announced plans to start selling the fish in Japan.

The gene-edited red sea bream (left) compared to unedited versions (right) © Dr Masato Kinoshita, Kyoto University and Dr Keitaro Kato, Kindai University

The Kyoto-based Regional Fish Institute partnered with Kyoto University and Kindai University to develop a "Madai" red sea bream with 20 percent more meat by using a gene-editing tool such as CRISPR to knock out a protein that suppresses muscle growth.

According to NHK World-Japan, the startup has now notified the health ministry of its plan to market the fish and began taking orders for trial sales last week.

While genetically modified food that contains foreign genes must undergo safety screening in Japan, gene-edited products don’t face the same rules, as was reflected by the sale of tomatoes containing a nutrient thought to lower blood pressure that went on sale online in the country this week.

Regional Fish began accepting orders for products made with the modified sea bream on Friday through a crowdfunding platform and plan to start delivering these in October, when they will be clearly labelled as "genome-edited".

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