"Sustainable Society" mission area

Index

Breakthrough technologies to accelerate breeding and strain improvement in biological production for a sustainable society

This prioritized theme aims to establish technologies to accelerate breeding and strain improvement for efficient and environmentally-friendly biological production of industrial materials and foods to realize a sustainable society.

Demand for industrial materials and food is expected to increase as the rise in global population, and economic growth continues in emerging and developing countries, and more people look for better living. However, to meet the increasing demand, we need to introduce mechanisms and technologies to reduce environmental load to a meaningful level since sustainability is jeopardized due to the generation of wastes including wastewater and a high dependence on diminishing resources.

As one of these solutions, efficient and environmental load-reducing production of these industrial materials and foods is expected by making the best of the function of organisms that have been evolved and optimized over the years. In fact, many varieties have been derived so far with a wide range of technologies from mating to genetic manipulation. Especially in recent years, the emergence of technologies such as genome editing has accelerated the development speed, and attempts have been made to derive new varieties of various species. Regarding the handling of organisms subject to genome editing in Japan, modification of a gene with no exogenous genes and indistinguishable from mutations in the nature is distinguished from conventional "genetic modification" prescribed in the Cartagena Act, and excluded from regulations on labeling and safety reviews. In this manner, the environment for handling genes and resulting products is being put into place. However, gene sequences directly linked to high-efficiency production of target materials and foods have not yet been identified in many species. Even if they are identified, genome editing is not easy: there are cases where the current tissue culture method cannot be applied to plants with the same crop species but different varieties, and editing is difficult depending on the gene sequence. For these reasons, there are many cases where it is not possible to derive a new variety, or it takes time to derive with the current technology.

This prioritized theme targets establishing various technologies mainly related to the derivation of new breeds and strains of species, mainly plants, microorganisms and insects, to derive new varieties that produce highly functional industrial materials and foods with efficiency and low environmental load. Through this objective the theme aims to realize a society ensuring fulfilling life and friendly to the earth.

R&D Management Committee Members

EZURA Hiroshi Professor, Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba
SAKAI Takako Vice-President of MIKADO KYOWA SEED CO.LTD.
NAKAMURA Takahiro Professor, Graduate School of Bioresource and Bioenvironment, Kyushu University
MURANAKA Toshiya Professor, Graduate School of Biotechnology, Osaka University

R&D Projects

<Adopted in FY2020> R&D Project TitleSummaryR&D Period
Nanocarbon-initiated breeding toward increase in production of essential fatty acids
ITAMI Kenichiro (Director/Professor, Institute of Transformative Bio-Molecules (ITbM), Nagoya University, Tokai National Higher Education and Research System)
Nanocarbon-initiated breeding toward increase in production of essential fatty acids
(PDF:200KB)
2020.11-
Development of hologenomic selection methods for simultaneous improvement of crops and crop microbiome
IWATA Hiroyoshi (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo)
Development of hologenomic selection methods for simultaneous improvement of crops and crop microbiome
(PDF:190KB)
2020.11-
Pioneering new food resources from wild crop progenitors
SATO Yutaka (Professor, National Institute of Genetics)
Pioneering new food resources from wild crop progenitors
(PDF:220KB)
2020.11-
Synthetic molecules that accelerate plant breeding
HAGIHARA Shinya (Team Leader, Center for Sustainable Resource Science, RIKEN)
Synthetic molecules that accelerate plant breedin
(PDF:204KB)
2020.11-

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