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O-cha gene analysis

O-CHA genome analysis is behind that of human and rice with less organized research. There have been only search of DNA markers for selecting species and a few isolations of gene. The fact that Yabukita originated in Shizuoka still accounts for 70-80% of all the production in Japan is derived from the idea that production cost id lower when only one species is produced rather than the superiority of the species. However, there is a risk of inappropriate weather, which affects the whole production of tea if there is only one species. There have been deviation and changes of consumers' taste. Multi-species production to suit the tastes of consumers without raising the production cost should be considered to stabilize the total production of tea. It needs 3-6 years to harvest tea because it takes time to hybrid and select in contrast with rice, a yearly plant. Considering that, breeding by gene recombination is effective. Linking with Tsukuba University, we are in process of communicating anti-sense DNA, a caffeine compound enzyme, to agro-bacterium through gene recombination, which is to establish a new species that exclude caffeine that is not good for people with inferior physical conditions. Consumers tend to reject genetically modified foods, which makes it difficult to fill in the gap between the levels of research and development and consumers' understanding. We are hoping that we will produce a functional tea as a product.

(Toshihiro Tsuneyoshi)