Mar./2006
(STRATEGIC PROPOSALS)
Ecogenomics and Ecoproteomics for High-degree Application of Ecosystem Function/CRDS-FY2005-SP-04
Executive Summary

The “Ecogenomics and Ecoproteomics” proposed by this proposal aim to extract genomes and proteins of biological group not from individual organisms but from soil and aquatic environment and unravel functions of the genes in the ecosystem.

The ecosystem is basically a flow of substances and the corresponding energy through “eat-or-be-eaten” relationships between the organisms. The organisms living in the ecosystem also produce a variety of substances such as proteins and use them for maintenance, defense, procreation, etc. of the living bodies. By detecting proteins and genes comprehensively and investigating their functions and structures in detail in order to efficiently unravel the production and cycle of organisms, we can use the results for increased production of crop plants and development of useful substances including drugs such as antibiotics. By unraveling the interaction between organisms and environment or between individual organisms, we can also understand functions and structures of the ecosystems including assimilation of carbon dioxide, water retention and environmental cleanup, enabling us to conserve them and use them in a sustainable and advanced manner.

For this purpose, we propose the following specific issues:
(1) Ecogenomics and ecoproteomics focusing on analysis of substances produced by organisms and a technology to produce useful substances
(2) Ecogenomics and ecoproteomics focusing on elucidation of functions and structures of the ecosystems
(3) Ecogenomics and ecoproteomics focusing on a technology to search for species of organisms

The above research and development issues significantly deepen the understanding of functions and structures of the ecosystem, which becomes an important industrial foundation in the future. The research and development issues proposed in this proposal can also contribute to enriching a library of genetic resources and keeping the Japanese industrial competitiveness for a long term, because there are many technological seeds in these issues such as development of equipment, and so on. In addition, they are also expected to promote integration between biology/environmental science in macro approach and biology in biotechnological approach and the coordination with researchers of mathematical science and information processing will be essential. This strategic proposal also aims to induce innovation through the development of integrated academic fields extracted from these needs.