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High GABA Tomatoes

A genome-edited tomato is now for sale in Japan, according to the Japan News.

It adds that the tomato, developed by the Tokyo-based Sanatech Seed, was edited to include higher-than-usual amounts of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which is thought to lower blood pressure. In particular, the company removed an inhibitory domain within the tomato's genome to enable it to produce four to five times more GABA, the Japan News reports. It adds that the tomato has been dubbed a Sicilian Rouge High GABA.

NHK, the Japanese public broadcaster, adds that Sanatech Seed received permission to sell the tomato last December and that contract farmers have been growing the tomatoes, which are now ripe. "At first we got mixed reactions to genome-edited foods, and we thought it would be difficult to bring them to market as they're not fully understood by consumers," Takeshita Tatsuo, chair of Sanatech Seed tells NHK. "But the tomatoes earned a good reputation from those who took part in the cultivation trials."

According to NHK, a three kilogram or about 6.6 pounds box of the tomatoes costs $68.

Regulators in Japan have also been weighing the approval of red sea bream, a fish, that has been modified to be meatier.

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