Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, NARO

Division of Silk-Producing Insect Biotechnology

We aim to create a new biological industry by using "silk-producing insects" such as silkworms and bagworms (Minomushi) that make/produce threads. So far, we have established a gene recombination (transgenic) technology for silkworms, and developed raw materials for diagnostic agents and cosmetics produced from the transgenic silkworms (Left Figure:silkworms and cocoons that emit fluorescence) which have been put into practical use. The production of fluorescent silk and other materials by silkworm farmers has also started. In addition to adding functions to silk and developing technology for molding silk into shapes that can be used as a material, we have also developed new silk materials, such as Bagworm Silk (right), which is stronger than spider silk.

However, for the production of useful proteins, there is a need for further improvement in productivity from partner companies. In addition, the production of new functional silk by sericulture farmers is slow-moving, and expanding demand is also an issue. In case, for Bagworm silk and other silkworms, securing the quantity and reducing production costs are demanded.

Therefore, we will develop basic technology to improve the productivity of useful proteins by transgenic silkworms and will collaborate with companies to produce veterinary drug substances. Also, we have developed elemental technology to propagate silkworm races which makes the world's finest and highly dyeable silk, among sericulture farmers. In addition, we will develop new silk materials and technologies for mass production of these materials at low cost, with the aim of commercializing them.



Research Group