Japan invests to develop its genome editing technology

5 April 2016

A cash injection of 8.6 billion Japanese Yen aims to boost Japan's genome editing industry and help it to close the gap on Western counterparts in the field.

Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry intends to invest the equivalent of more than $76,000,000 over the next five years into the creation of Japanese-owned genome editing technologies. 

As well as fuelling relevant research and development projects in domestic universities, institutions and companies, establishing its own genome editing technologies will enable Japan to avoid the extra costs incurred due to reliance on technologies patented by other countries. Currently the United States is the largest holder of patents for popular gene editing technologies. 

Genome editing techniques such as CRISPR/Cas9 have pushed genome editing into the mainstream and into the news, especially over the more controversial human germline editing. Gene editing techniques have a vast number of potential uses, from speeding up research, facilitating useful and affective applications which could be beneficial to human health, to genetic modification of crops and livestock.  

The ministry aims to enhance the safety and efficiency of current Japanese genome editing technology in order to efficiently mass-produce medicinal p roducts.

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