sanatechseed
For Tomorrow's Children and Earth

News Release

2019
Jan 09
25th Asian Seed Congress
Company Establishment

Our company was founded with the purpose of protecting the children and Earth of tomorrow by using biotechnology innovations to improve agricultural crops. The term "Sana" used in our company name is a Latin word meaning "health". It represents our wish to improve people's health through our products.

Since the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA in 1953, the genetic makeup of many living organisms- human, animal, and plant species- has been studied in detail and the roles played by different genes have been and are continuing to be discovered. More recently, research by worldwide scientists led to the 2012 development of a technology called CRISPR/Cas9 (hereinafter referred to as CRISPR). This technology enables “gene editing,” or the process of cleanly and efficiently changing the DNA sequence of an organism’s genes in a targeted manner and without introducing any “foreign” DNA from another species. The CRISPR gene editing technology holds great potential for developing the next generation of agricultural crops, thereby contributing to food security and sustainability, as well as to improving the nutritional, processing, storage, and health (e.g., reduced allergenicity) qualities of food.

Dr. Hiroshi Ezura, Director of the Gene Research Center and Professor of Life and Environmental Sciences, Plant Molecular Breeding & Vegetable Crop Sciences, at the University of Tsukuba, is a leading researcher in this technology. He successfully applied the CRISPR gene editing technology to develop a heart-healthy tomato with higher GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) content. He is working with Sanatech Seed as a Chief Technology Officer and a member of the Board of Directors to bring these heart-healthy tomatoes to consumers.

History of Selective Breeding and the Significance of Genome Editing Today

Plants can adapt to environmental changes through changes in their DNA sequence. Spontaneous changes can arise after random breaks in a plant’s DNA are triggered by various environmental signals, for example by solar radiation or by a plant’s own stress-induced small molecules. The subsequent DNA repair process can then cause a mutation. Spontaneous mutation is a fundamental biological process essential for the survival and evolution of plants. These spontaneous mutations are not directed to particular genes, and while most will be neutral – or not result in improvements – and some will be adverse for the plant, others will be beneficial. Researchers search for and select plants with beneficial mutations in order to make, for example, varieties retaining yield under drought conditions or with resistance to a disease or pest. This process is called plant breeding and it is a process in which breeders select random events that create beneficial mutations. The chance of finding a beneficial mutation can be increased by using genetic markers (DNA segments known to be associated with a desired characteristic) or by artificially inducing mutations through chemical agents or radiation. These traditional breeding approaches are resource-consuming and are not efficient.

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About Our Business
Our company produces and sells seeds that have undergone selective breeding through the use of gene editing.

Our first product will be tomatoes with 4-5 times the usual GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) content. Increased GABA content in foods is known to lower blood pressure, so these high-GABA tomatoes can be called ”heart-healthy tomatoes.” We are planning a test market in 2019, and we expect to have the world's first high GABA tomato variety created with CRISPR gene editing available in stores late next year. High GABA tomato was developed by Dr. Hiroshi Ezura and his team from the University of Tsukuba using CRISPR gene editing to introduce a targeted change in a tomato’s gene associated with GABA production. This approach to increase GABA content can be repeated in other tomato varieties as well as other crops for a larger public benefit.

We will continue to improve tomatoes and other crops to be healthier and more useful for people.

Company Profile

1.Company Name: Sanatech Seed Co.,Ltd.

2.Company Representative: Representative Director and President Tatsuo Takeshita

3.Address: Landic Toranomon Bldg. 7F, 3-7-10 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001 Japan

4.Shareholder Composition: Pioneer EcoScience Co.,Ltd. 95%, Officer/Employee 5%

5.Executives: Chief Technology Director Hiroshi Ezura
Director-Corporate Planning & Production Yuzo Tobisaka
Director-Sales & Marketing Shimpei Takeshita

6.Associated Companies: Pioneer EcoScience Co.,Ltd.

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