Toyota Signs Licensing Agreement for GRAS-Di DNA Analysis Technology

TOYOTA CITY, Japan - Toyota Motor Corp. announced that it has signed an agreement with Kazusa DNA Research Institute, Eurofins Genomics K.K. and GeneBay Inc. to license Toyota's unique GRAS-Di DNA analysis technology that can dramatically accelerate selective breeding.
Since the announcement of this technology in September 2016, Toyota said it has received acclaim from Kazusa, Eurofins Genomics and GeneBay, and starting in November 2017, it will be put to practical use in contract-based analysis businesses in Japan and around the world.
Until now, selective breeding involved repeated selection and mating of parent varieties -- based on extensive past results -- and evaluation of their offspring in order to select new varieties with the desired characteristics.
In September 2016, Toyota announced that it had paired its proprietary sample preparation technology with a next-generation sequencer to develop GRAS-Di, a new technology that can substantially simplify the process of identifying and selecting specimens with useful genetic information. It addressed limitations posed by conventional technology, enabling significant reductions in cost and man-hours, the company said. As a result, cost has been cut by approximately two-thirds and man-hours by approximately nine-tenths of the previous level.
In signing the agreement, the parties described their evaluation and expectations. Kazusa indicated that "We expect that the technology will not only be used by research and development organizations but also widely by private companies."
Eurofins Genomics added, "The ability of this technology to analyze a large number of DNA samples easily and quickly at low cost will support further research and will significantly contribute to addressing world food and energy problems."
"It is common industry knowledge that it is necessary to acquire a large amount of DNA and data, which was a hurdle for spreading the technology and applying it. We expect it to be widely used in agriculture and livestock and many other industries," GeneBay noted.
Toyota said it expects that GRAS-Di can be applied to general selective breeding not only in agriculture but for wide-ranging development in areas like the livestock, forestry and fishery industries. Toyota believes that by introducing the technology to companies that intend to expand their businesses globally, the technology will contribute to addressing global issues through increased production of biofuels and foods and improvement of the disease resistance of crops.
Consequently, Toyota will continue to actively disclose and share information in an effort to spread the technology further.