Genome editing-based breeding of cashmere goats in Mongolia to improve cashmere fiber quality.


Setsuro Tech Inc., which provides a contract-based genome editing research and development service, has initiated joint research with the School of Veterinary Medicine and the School of Animal Science and Biotechnology of the Mongolian University of Life Science and the Mongolian National Center for Animal Genebank. It aims to improve the quality of Mongolian cashmere goats using genome editing-based breeding technology.
By introducing Setsuro Tech’s genome-editing technology, Setsuro Tech aims to improve cashmere fiber quality in Mongolia, the world’s second-largest supplier of cashmere fiber, to the highest eminence in the world, contributing to a sustainable cashmere industry.
Setsuro Tech is currently looking for a wide range of partnerships to implement the results of this research in the cashmere industry in Mongolia.

【Background Information】

Cashmere fiber is also known as “fiber jewelry” because of its fine hair, high density, excellent heat retention, and feel. Mongolia is the second-largest producer of cashmere fiber after China, accounting for about 30% of the world’s production. In addition, the cashmere fiber harvested from Mongolian cashmere goats, which survive in a harsh environment below -30°C in winter, is said to be of the highest quality in the world. However, cashmere fiber production in Mongolia faces several challenges.
The deterioration of cashmere fiber quality due to uncontrolled crossbreeding with a priority on yield is of great concern in Mongolia. In addition, overgrazing is a serious environmental issue in Mongolia, as the number of cashmere goats has been increasing. Solving these difficulties becomes indispensable for the maintenance of the superiority of cashmere fiber.
As a startup originating from Tokushima University, Japan, Setsuro Tech has been working on research and development using its unique genome-editing technology that can edit genes of living organisms specifically, aiming at contributing to a society based on the results of the research from the university.
With a focus on the UN’s sustainable development goals, such as “13 Climate Action” and “15 Life on Land”, Setsuro Tech discussed them with the Mongolian University of Life Science, the Mongolian National Center for Animal Genebank, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Light Industry, and the Ministry of Nature and Tourism.

【Research Overview】

After the approval and support from the relevant Mongolian authorities, Setsuro Tech conducts joint research and performs the genome editing of cashmere goats in collaboration with the local research institutions, the Mongolian University of Life Sciences, and the Mongolian National Center for Animal Genebank. The research aims to establish a goat strain that produces the world’s highest-quality cashmere fiber. In the future, we will contribute to establishing a sustainable livestock industry in Mongolia through environment-friendly cashmere fiber production.

Setsuro Tech works on this research and development by utilizing two proprietary technologies. The first technology, genome editing by electroporation of Cas9 protein (GEEP method, Japanese patent No. 6980218), is an easy and efficient method for introducing genome-editing nuclease and reagents into fertilized eggs. Since the equipment is relatively inexpensive compared to the conventional microinjection method, genome editing can be performed even in experimental facilities with minimal instrumentation.
The second technology, “Genome Editing Nuclease ST8” (Japanese patent No. 7113415), is a genome-editing nuclease developed and improved by Setsuro Tech. ST8 is a novel genome-editing nuclease that can circumvent the challenges associated with the CRISPR/Cas9 system (patent disputes, license costs, off-target mutations).
Setsuro Tech has conducted a preliminary study for this research and development project in Japan. Genome-edited genes that achieve high-quality yield are selected based on the literature review and the evaluation of genome-edited mice produced for this purpose. With the know-how and genome-editing ability of both laboratory and industrial animals, Setsuro Tech can determine the target genes for genome editing based on the study results in mice.
Setsuro Tech plans to produce genome-edited goats in collaboration with local researchers.

【Looking for partnerships!】

Setsuro Tech is looking for a wide range of partner companies to jointly implement projects that utilize genome-edited goats that produce high-quality cashmere fiber established by this research. The results of this research are expected to significantly contribute to achieving sustainable development goals. Let us know if you want to work together on industrial development and create a highly sustainable livestock industry in Mongolia.

【Explanation of terms】

1)GEEP method: Genome editing by electroporation of Cas9 protein. The GEEP method (electroporation for fertilized eggs: Japanese patent No. 6980218) is a method to introduce genome-editing tools, such as genome-editing reagents and gRNAs, into fertilized eggs using the power of electricity (electroporation). Utilizing the GEEP method yields the advantage of minimally invasive genome editing on many fertilized eggs in a short time under uniform conditions and is anticipated to produce highly efficient genome-edited organisms.

About Setsuro Tech Inc.

Setsuro Tech Inc. is a startup from Tokushima University, which was founded in 2017 based on the technology and know-how cultivated at the Tokushima University. In 2015, Tatsuya Takemoto (Representative Director, Chairman, and CTO) of the Tokushima University and others developed “a method that can easily and efficiently produce genome-edited mice” (Japanese Patent No. 6980218).
Shun Sawatsuhashi (Executive CSO) of the Tokushima University developed the VIKING method, which realizes highly-efficient genome editing in cultured cells (Japanese patent No. 6956995). Furthermore, we have developed our own novel genome editing factor ST8 (Japanese patent No. 7113415) and are proceeding with research and development to speed up breeding in the fields of medicine, agriculture, and livestock.
Setsuro Tech develops genome editing contract services for researchers in academia and companies using these proprietary technologies as well as providing genome-edited organisms to a wide range of industries. “PAGEs” aims to develop the genome editing industry and contribute to the well-being and sustainable societies.