Toolgen Co., Ltd., New Potatoes Approved For Exemption From GMO Regulations By U.S. Department of Agriculture

Published online: Oct 28, 2022 Seed Potatoes
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Toolgen Co. , Ltd. announced that it was notified that a new variety of browning-inhibited potato developed using CRISPR gene scissors technology was not subject to GMO regulation as a result of a strict regulatory review by the US Department of Agriculture.

CRISPR gene scissors is a proofreading technology that can accurately find and cut specific DNA in the genome. In particular, genetic scissors technology is a cutting-edge breeding technology that can develop a variety of new breeds, and breeding researchers around the world are actively using it recently .

Unlike GMOs in which a foreign gene is inserted, gene editing technology artificially causes base mutations, which occur almost at the same rate of mutations that occur naturally, and the results are also indistinguishable from products of traditional breeding, such as the United States, Japan, Australia, Canada, India, and China, UK, South America, etc.

Countries around the world apply different regulations on gene scissors technology to GMOs. In other words, they are not regulated like GMOs, and they tend to be treated like general crops if they are much relaxed or subject to preliminary review .

Toolgen has been developing new varieties of potatoes with the goal of reaching the global potato market, which is worth about $100 billion. It developed a browning-inhibiting potato and obtained a domestic patent in June 2021 .

According to a company official, “Toolgen removed polyphenol oxidase (PPO), a related gene, with gene scissors to secure the browning inhibitory trait of potatoes. Potatoes can suppress browning for up to 48 hours at room temperature.”

Toolgen received a GMO exemption from the USDA on Sept. 29, for potato, the third genetically modified crop, after petunia, which changed flower color in May 2020, and oleic acid-enhanced soybean in July 2020.

Youngho Kim, CEO of Toolgen Co., Ltd. said, “ We have once again proven Toolgen’s high technology to the world through the approval of the US Department of Agriculture’s approval of exemption from GMO regulations for the browning-inhibiting potato of Toolgen. While only global seed companies that need risk assessment and can invest large amounts of capital can develop seeds, CRISPR gene scissors technology enables the development of new varieties of seeds with little capital. We will spur the development of GE seeds that replace GMO seeds together with agricultural biotechnology companies/seed companies around the world through the development of new varieties of seeds and technology transfer.”