A genome-edited fish placed on the market in Japan

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry in Japan received an application by a Kyoto-based start-up asking for an authorisation to use a gene-edited tiger puffer fish as food.    

A team of experts lead by Kyoto University created this kind of tiger puffer. The genes of tiger puffer can be effectively edited using gene-editing technology according to the company. The gene editing tool was used to disable the function of genes that govern the fish's appetite. As a result, the fish develop a metabolic problem. In comparison to natural species, their feed intake is boosted, and they grow greater in weight. During the same farming period, the gene-edited fish grow to be 1.9 times heavier than the identical species raised traditionally. This means they can be sent in less time than regular tiger puffers, which take more than two years to mature, giving them a competitive edge.    

The pufferfish aren't the only contentious New GE product destined for the Japanese food market: the country's regulators have also authorized tomatoes that are believed to lower blood pressure when consumed, as well as red sea bream that have been gene-edited to boost muscular development. This was also this company's second application. The business dubbed the gene-edited fish "22-seiki fugu" (puffer fish from the twenty-second century) and launched an online crowdfunding campaign to support its commercialization.    

There are currently no rigorous rules in Japan regarding GE organisms. If no extra genes are added, but the activity of native genes is hindered by New GE, no health or environmental hazards are assumed. As a result, several concerns have arisen about the inadequate control of New GE organisms intended for food production. Furthermore, most of the EU Commission's recent legislative measures might lead the EU in the same direction given that CRISPR/Cas gene scissor applications might be significantly deregulated, according to current EU Commission plans.