Research in Focus

  • Elucidating the origin of cultivated barley as evidence of earliest human agriculture
    ~ Towards accelerating cultivar improvement in wheat and barley ~

    研究イメージ

    The origin of the agronomic trait in barley that retains the grains on the inflorescence at maturity which led to effective harvesting, and therefore plays major role in barley domestication has been elucidated. The barley cultivars widely grown in Europe and the western hemisphere originated from mutations of ancestral lines which occurred approximately 10,000 years ago in southern region of Levant in Israel, whereas the barley cultivars which spread in Japan and the eastern hemisphere originated from later mutations which occurred in northern Levant from northwest Syria to southeast Turkey. This is the first report that identifies the exact location of the origin of barley domestication and provides a direct evidence of the earliest human agriculture. The ancestors of cultivated barley which originated from the northern and southern Levant differ from each other in many agronomic traits. Crossbreeding of cultivars from each ancestral group will facilitate the incorporation of specific novel traits, and accelerate an efficient cultivar improvement in wheat and barley.


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  • Generation of "juvenile hormone" free silkworms by genome editing
    ~ Towards the development of safe pesticides ~

    Juvenile hormones essential for insect growth are synthesized in an endocrine organ, transported to other tissues, and bind to an intracellular receptor to control the genes involved in molting and metamorphosis. Using the genome editing technology, we were able to knock-out the genes essential for the synthesis and reception of juvenile hormones in the silkworm. The resultant "juvenile hormone"-free silkworms metamorphosed early into pupae and eventually died without developing into adults, suggesting that the juvenile hormone biosynthetic enzyme and the receptor are promising targets for designing biorational insecticides. Thus, our results lead to the development of new pesticides that can prevent the damage due to excessive feeding of insect larvae in crops.

    研究イメージ

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  • Development of rice capable of accumulating high levels of cadmium for bioremediation of contaminated rice fields

    A rice cultivar "Phyreme CD1" capable of accumulating high levels of cadmium and suitable for the purification of contaminated paddy fields has been developed and registered as a new variety. This new cultivar was developed by conferring the non-shattering and lodging tolerant characteristic in indica rice cultivar capable of absorbing cadmium at high levels from the soil. It can be easily distinguished from Japanese rice cultivars and can be efficiently used as a bioremediation plant to remove cadmium from polluted paddy fields.

    研究イメージ
  • Development of easy-to-use and beautiful healing bandage-type artificial skin

    A joint research initiative of Saga University and the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, in collaboration with Yutoku Pharmaceutical Ind. Co. Ltd. and Kanto Chemical Co., Inc. has led to the successful development of an easy-to-use bandage-type artificial skin that also allows the wound to heal without leaving ugly scars. This artificial skin is made of biocompatible collagen material known as collagen vitrigel membrane, originally developed by the research group of Dr. Toshiaki Takezawa of the Animal Immune and Cell Biology Research Unit. This innovative product could serve as a very promising material for emergency treatment of skin injuries such as burns and is expected to have a wide of range of medical applications in the future.

    研究イメージ

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  • Unified information towards promoting the use of DNA markers breeding in a wide range of crops
    -Contributing to efficient crop improvement-

    The Applied Crop Genomics Research Center, a virtual research organization jointly coordinated by the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences (NIAS) and the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) released a new set of DNA markers from soybean, wheat, fruit trees, vegetables, industrial crops, forage crop and ornamental plants in a unified webpage format. This will further promote and intensify the application of marker-assisted selection in developing improved cultivars of a wide range of crops.
    The DNA marker information is available at:
    http://www.naro.affrc.go.jp/genome/database/
    研究イメージ
  • Conferring strong multiple disease resistance in rice without using pesticides
    ~ Towards a sustainable cereal crop production ~

    A technology that facilitates strong resistance against multiple diseases without depending on the use of pesticides has been successfully developed in rice. The strategy involves optimizing the promoter that drives the expression of the rice transcription factor WRKY45 which plays a central role in inducing resistance to various pathogens. It is expected to contribute in stable production of rice and other cereal crops as well particularly in developing countries where the high cost of chemical pesticides hinders agricultural productivity. Applications of this strategy will be pursued in collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT).

    研究イメージ

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•  2015.07.29  Elucidating the origin of cultivated barley as evidence of earliest human agriculture
•  2015.07.21  Generation of "juvenile hormone" free silkworms by genome editing
•  2015.07.17  Development of rice capable of accumulating high levels of cadmium for bioremediation of contaminated rice fields
•  2015.06.09  Development of easy-to-use and beautiful healing bandage-type artificial skin
•  2015.03.30  Unified information towards promoting the use of DNA markers breeding in a wide range of crops
•  2015.02.12  Conferring strong multiple disease resistance in rice without using pesticides
•  2015.01.20  The website of the 10th anniversary of the completion of the rice genome sequence is now avalable at this link.
•  2015.01.20  Opening of new Genebank facility and 30th anniversary memorial lecture on March 3, 2015
•  2015.01.09  Announcement of cultivation of transgenic crops at NIAS for FY2015
•  2014.12.25  Precise gene modification in rice without leaving unnecessary sequences
•  2014.12.10  Unified information to intensify the utilization of rice DNA markers in breeding
•  2014.12.02  Soybean gene controlling pod dehiscence
•  2014.11.28  A novel transmission route of symbiotic bacteria of a leafhopper to the offspring
•  2014.11.21  Development of a simple and highly efficient genetic integration method via genome editing
•  2015.07.29  Elucidating the origin of cultivated barley as evidence of earliest human agriculture
•  2015.07.17  Development of rice capable of accumulating high levels of cadmium for bioremediation of contaminated rice fields
•  2015.06.09  Development of easy-to-use and beautiful healing bandage-type artificial skin
•  2015.03.30  Unified information towards promoting the use of DNA markers breeding in a wide range of crops
•  2015.02.12  Conferring strong multiple disease resistance in rice without using pesticides
•  2014.12.25  Conferring strong multiple disease resistance in rice without using pesticides
•  2014.12.25  Precise gene modification in rice without leaving unnecessary sequences
•  2014.12.10  Unified information to intensify the utilization of rice DNA markers in breeding
•  2014.12.02  Soybean gene controlling pod dehiscence
•  2014.11.21  Development of a simple and highly efficient genetic integration method via genome editing
•  2014.10.29  Broad-spectrum resistance to brown planthopper in rice
•  2014.10.28  Genome-wide association study of metabolites in 175 rice cultivars
•  2014.10.03  Discovery of a new indispensable gene for regulation of cellular cholesterol behavior
•  2014.09.22  A transcription factor regulates the number of root nodules
•  2014.09.19   New biomaterial for corneal regeneration derived from porcine collagen
•  2014.09.12  Decoding the genome of extreme desiccation-tolerant sleeping chironomid
•  2014.09.01  Discovery of a rice almighty gene with multiple functions
•  2014.08.27  Silk produced by transgenic silkworm expressing spider dragline silk protein
•  2014.08.25  Identification of a novel promoter that can induce strong and ubiquitous gene expression in transgenic silkworm
•  2014.08.20  Elucidating the mechanism of recognition and evasion in viral infection of tomato
•  2014.08.19  Successful production of silk fibers with unnatural amino acids
•  2014.07.18  Genetic blueprint of the wheat genome revealed
•  2014.06.16  World’s first production of piglets from cryopreserved oocytes
•  2014.05.19  Discovery of synergistic insecticidal effect of calcium oxalate crystals and protease
•  2014.05.15  Development of a database to maximize the utilization of large-scale data on agrigenomics
•  2014.04.30  PGR Asia as a platform for efficient access to plant genetic resources in Asian region
Details here (in Japanese only).
•  2014.04.15  Space experiment on the effect of microgravity on midge
•  2014.03.03  Towards improving artificial insemination efficiency in cattle
•  2014.02.24  Identification of a new type semiochemical carrier protein that mediates chemical communication in ants
•  2014.02.20  Sex pheromone successfully controls sugarcane insect pest
•  2014.01.22  Discovery of a leech that can survive extremely low temperature
•  2013.12.11  Development of the technology to evaluate the function of a specific domain of intracellular protein
•  2013.09.30  Information on NIAS Symposium on “Prospects for Next-generation Crop Breeding Using Genome Information”
•  2013.09.25  Detection and verification of QTLs associated with heat-induced quality decline of rice
•  2013.09.17  Deciphering the sequence of more than 10,000 silkworm genes
•  2013.08.29  Identification of the gene which contributes to increased photosynthetic efficiency of high-yielding rice
•  2013.08.12  Piglets generated for the first time using sperm retrieved from immature testicular tissue cryopreserved and grafted into nude mice
•  2013.08.09  Development of a safe testing method using a culture model reflecting the architecture of human corneal epithelium in vivo
•  2013.08.05  Discovery and isolation of the gene that controls deep rooting in rice
•  2013.08.05  Discovery and isolation of the gene that controls deep rooting in rice
•  2013.07.12  Genome analysis of symbiotic microbes in wood-feeding cockroach
•  2013.07.02  Identification of the gene that controls early flowering in cultivar 'Koshihikari'
•  2013.06.13  Elucidating the mechanism of pathogen-induced resistance in rice
•  2013.04.15  Discovery of a gene associated with length and weight of rice grain
•  2013.03.22  Identification of transcriptional activators in legumes that enables nitrogen use in the atmosphere
•  2013.03.12  NIAS Ex-Vice President Takuji Sasaki appointed CGIAR Independent Science and Partnership Council member
•  2013.02.28  Elucidating the genetic linkage map of brown planthopper
•  2013.02.21  A new strategy for developing new types of crops with resistance to several pathogens X
•  2013.01.17  Discovery of a gene that controls the development of rice inflorescence
•  2012.12.19  Discovery of a method to suppress the composition of the black pigment in insects
•  2012.12.14  Development of the world’s first immunodeficient pig
•  2012.12.07  A system for predicting the expression of all rice genes based on atmospheric data
•  2012.11.15  Decoding the pig genome and sequence of important genes
•  2014.10.07  Hikari Exhibition on Oct 28,2014 - Feb 22, 2015
•  2014.10.06  Agribusiness Creation Fair 2014 on November 12-14 at Tokyo Big Sight
•  2014.07.10  Two prominent NIAS scientists in the 'World's Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014'
•  2014.04.23  TBS April 27 Program "Yume no Tobira Plus" features NIAS research on rice DRO1 gene
•  2014.03.20  10th International Conference on Juvenile Hormones
Jun 9-13, 2014, Tsukuba, Japan
•  2014.03.12  BIOtech 2014
May 14-16, 2014 at Tokyo Big Sight
•  2014.02.26  Announcement of NIAS Open House
April 18-19, 2014
•  2014.02.20  Silk Summit in Tomioka Silk Mill
Tomioka City, Gunma, April 17-18, 2014
•  2014.03.20  10th International Conference on Juvenile Hormones on Jun 9-13, 2014, Tsukuba, Japan
•  2014.03.12  BIOtech 2014 on May 14-16, 2014 at Tokyo Big Sight
•  2014.02.26  NIAS Open House on April 18-19, 2014
•  2014.02.20  Silk Summit in Tomioka on April 17-18, 2014
•  2013.10.22  Tsukuba Science Festival 2013 on November 9 & 10, 2013
•  2013.10.21  Joint NARO/ARC and NIAS Research Seminar on ‘How to cope with insecticide resistance’ on November 27 & 28, 2013
•  2013.10.17  Science Agora 2013 on November 9 & 10, 2013
•  2013.10.04  Symposium on "Current status of development of biopharamaceuticals from plants and future prospects" on November 8, 2013
•  2013.09.25  Agribusiness Creation Fair 2013 on October 23-25 at Tokyo Big Sight
•  2013.08.14  NIAS 30th Anniversary Symposium
October 16, 2013, Akihabara UDX, Tokyo
•  2013.08.09  Silk Summit 2013 in Kumejima
October 10-11, 2013
•  2013.07.11  Tsukuba Chibikko Hakasei (PhD Kids) Aug 21-22, 2013
•  2013.07.11  Symposium on Utilization of Genome Information for Next-Generation Crop Breeding Oct 18, 2013
•  2013.05.31  The 52nd Gamma Field Symposium July 17, 2013
Deadline of application on July 10
•  2013.05.17  NIAS Open College starts in September 2013
Application is now open.
•  2013.05.16  Summer Science Camp 2013 Aug 5-7
•  2013.05.15  Microarray Workshop 2013 June 26-28
•  2013.03.08  NIAS / TTC Science Cafe on May 24, 2013, at Tera House in Nakano-ku, Tokyo
•  2013.02.20  Announcement of the JSSS / NIAS Joint Symposium on March 18, 2013, Tsukuba Norin Hall
•  2013.02.20  NIAS Open House on April 19-20, 2013
•  2013.01.21  Reactivation of the gamma field at the Institute of Radiation Breeding
•  2013.01.17  NIAS Science Cafe on Feb. 19, 2013
•  2013.01.08  Announcement of the 7th NIAS Symposium Theme: Utilization of silk fibroin and celisin Feb 21, 2013, Akihabara Convention Hall, Tokyo
•  2013.01.23  Announcement of the NIAS / NILGS Joint Symposium Theme: Current status and future prospects of research on improvement of animal productivity Feb 26, 2013, Epochal Tsukuba
•  2012.05.14  Announcement of the the 12th International Wheat Genetics Symposium Sep 8-14, 2013
•  2015.01.09  Announcement of cultivation of transgenic crops at NIAS for FY2015
•  2014.04.28  Update on the status of GMO crops cultivation in isolation fields
•  2014.03.07  Announcement of cultivation of transgenic rice
March 28, 2014
•  2014.04.21  Update on the status of GMO crops cultivation in isolation fields
•  2013.09.30  Harvesting of transgenic rice for FY2013
•  2013.07.16  Changes in the status of experimental fields used for exhibition of transgenic crops
•  2013.05.24  Schedule of transplanting of transgenic rice (WRKY45) on June 12
•  2013.05.08  Transplanting of transgenic rice with cedar pollen allergen
•  2013.05.02  Announcement of cultivation of transgenic crops at NIAS for FY2013
•  2013.03.06  Schedule of cultivation of transgenic crops at NIAS for FY2014 (Part 2)
•  2013.01.24  Schedule of cultivation of transgenic crops at NIAS for FY2013
•  2013.01.24  Survey of management and crossing of transgenic rice with multiple disease resistant at NIAS for FY2012
•  2013.01.22  Survey of management and crossing of transgenic rice with pollen allergen for FY2012
•  2012.12.25  Announcement of the termination of the transgenic soybean and corn field exhibition for FY2012