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Kitta K.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2013

The safety assessment of genetically modified (GM) crops is mandatory in many countries. Although the most important factor to take into account in these safety assessments is the primary effects of artificially introduced transgene-derived traits, possible unintended effects attributed to the insertion of transgenes must be carefully examined in parallel. However, foods are complex mixtures of compounds characterized by wide variations in composition and nutritional values. Food components are significantly affected by various factors such as cultivars and the cultivation environment including storage conditions after harvest, and it can thus be very difficult to detect potential adverse effects caused by the introduction of a transgene. A comparative approach focusing on the identification of differences between GM foods and their conventional counterparts has been performed to reveal potential safety issues and is considered the most appropriate strategy for the safety assessment of GM foods. This concept is widely shared by authorities in many countries. For the efficient safety assessment of GM crops, an easily accessible and wide-ranging compilation of crop composition data is required for use by researchers and regulatory agencies. Thus, we developed an Internet-accessible food composition database comprising key nutrients, antinutrients, endogenous toxicants, and physiologically active substances of staple crops such as rice and soybeans. The International Life Sciences Institute has also been addressing the same matter and has provided the public a crop composition database of soybeans, maize, and cotton. © 2013 American Chemical Society. Source

Hayashi K.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment | Year: 2013

Purpose: Earlier studies on agricultural life cycle assessment recommend that practitioners use two functional units - product weight and land area - because agriculture entails commodity production and land use. However, there are still ambiguities in this approach from the perspective of decision support. The purpose of this paper is to provide recommendations to support farming conversion decisions on the basis of a framework constructed on two alternative views of agricultural production. Organic conversion of arable farming is selected as a case study. Methods: Four types of conversion were constructed on the basis of land-oriented expression, in which inputs into and outputs from land were depicted, and product-oriented expression, in which inputs into and outputs from products were depicted. Then, the frequencies for each type were counted using LCI databases and data from journal papers. Results: The results can be summarized as follows: (1) trade-off conversion, in which improvements in environmental impacts per area unit are involved in decrease of yield per area unit, is common. (2) Conversion tended to be efficient; that is, environmental impacts per product unit tended to improve. (3) Within trade-off conversion, the conversion tended to be efficient. (4) When conversion was efficient, there were trade-offs. Conclusions: Since the results for one expression were not always derivable from the results for another expression, the recommendation of this study is to use the two expressions complementarily, knowing that win-win conversion is rare. In addition, there is a general recommendation to use decision criteria rather than trying to make decisions on the basis of multiple functional units because comparisons based on the two functional units are not on the same level. © 2012 Springer-Verlag. Source

Yamane T.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2013

Male seminal substances have been shown to induce oviposition and reduce female longevity in a number of species including the adzuki bean beetle Callosobruchus chinensis. Here the micro-injection of extracts of male reproductive tissues is used to determine the effect of male and female strain on female fecundity and longevity. Four strains of C. chinensis, known to differ in their propensity to remate were assayed. The results indicate that male and female strain both influence female fecundity and longevity. However, consistent patterns of response were not observed as revealed by a significant interaction between male and female strains. The evolutionary implications of these results are discussed. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. Source

Yoshida H.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization | Nagato Y.,University of Tokyo
Journal of Experimental Botany | Year: 2011

The flower of rice diverged from those of model eudicot species such as Arabidopsis, Antirrhinum, or Petunia, and is thus of great interest in developmental and evolutionary biology. Specific to grass species, including rice, are the structural units of the inflorescence called the spikelet and floret, which comprise grass-specific peripheral organs and conserved sexual organs. Recent advances in molecular genetic studies have provided an understanding of the functions of rapidly increasing numbers of genes involved in rice flower development. The genetic framework of rice flower development is in part similar to that of model eudicots. However, rice also probably recruits specific genetic mechanisms, which probably contribute to the establishment of the specific floral architecture of rice. In this review, the molecular genetic mechanisms of rice flowering are outlined, focusing on recent information and in comparison with those of model eudicots. © 2011 The Author. Source

Kaneda M.,Japan National Agriculture and Food Research Organization
Differentiation | Year: 2011

Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic phenomenon that brings the difference of expression between paternally or maternally derived alleles and is specific for mammals in vertebrates. This imprint is established in the parental germlines and then inherited to the next generation to regulate expression of imprinted genes that are essential to support proper embryonic development. More than one hundred imprinted genes have been identified in mice and humans. Some are essential for embryonic development, especially placental formation, and others regulate metabolism, behavior and physiological functions. In humans, disruption of genomic imprinting causes several diseases, including cancer. Recently, the molecular mechanisms of genomic imprinting are getting clarified. How do parents regulate gene expression of their children? Why and how is genomic imprinting evolved in mammals? The review offers a handful of recent progress in this area. © 2011 International Society of Differentiation. Source

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