Insects constitute the most abundant and diverse animal group on Earth, representing 0.95 million species of 1.75 million species identified to date. They have a variety of functions to survive harsh environments. In agriculture, some insects have been used as pollinators and biological control agents. Insects are also expected to be used as a protein source for feed of livestock and farmed fish and even for human food to solve the protein crisis, which will come in the near future. Besides, the many functions of insects remain unexplained, and are called, "largest unused resources on Earth". On the other hand, chemical pesticides are still actively used to control serious insect pests to ensure a stable and sustainable food supply. Considering the environmental impacts of chemical pesticide and development of pesticide resistance, it is necessary to develop alternative pest control strategies.
In the Division of Insect Advanced Technology, our research programs seek to promote the development of technologies to enhance and/or modify the functions of insects by using genomic information, genome editing and AI technologies. For example, we focus on utilizing insects which are reared with organic wastes, such as food residues and agricultural residues as protein sources of feed for farmed fish. In addition, we also conduct research programs to develop innovative insect control technologies that utilize pest-specific pesticide acting on novel targets, biological interactions between insect and microorganisms, or insect-resistance of plants.