The Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, NARO (NIAS) focuses on understanding the biological phenomena of agriculturally important plants, insects, microbes and animals to create innovative technologies, and eventually contribute to the solution of global issues such as food shortage due to rapid population growth and environmental problems due to climate change. NIAS is doing research and development to create new industries and new demands in the field of agricultural and medicinal industries by applying genetic engineering technologies to plants, insects and animals. In plants, for example, we are developing new rice varieties resistant to major diseases including blast. Moreover, we will include non-clinical and clinical research trials of rice-based edible vaccines for curing cedar pollinosis. In insects, we are developing medicinal materials from silk protein and medicines for humans and animals using transgenic silkworm. Furthermore, we are developing transgenic pigs to produce immune-deficit pigs and animal models for human diseases.

NIAS News

Development of method for producing tomatoes resistant to emerging virus diseases

Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV) is a pathogenic virus of tomato that has emerged in recent years and has become a serious problem worldwide. A new control method has been sought as the existing resistance genes were not effective against ToBRFV. National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) and Takii & Co., Ltd. have demonstrated by genome editing technology that tomatoes with strong resistance to ToBRFV can be produced by disabling the genes of tomato that the virus utilizes for their multiplication. This research result is expected to contribute to the suppression of ToBRFV if the development and popularization of ToBRFV resistant tomato cultivars progresses. Read more


Exploring the mystery of "Snow mold disease" that molds the crop under snow

Snow mold is a serious disease that withers wheat and grasses. National Agricultural Food Research Organization(NARO), in collaboration with Hokkaido University and The Hachinohe Institute of Technology, has first identified the snow mold fungi that infect the model plant Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and developed an experimental system to evaluate the resistance of plants to snow mold fungi using Arabidopsis. It is expected that this experimental system will further elucidate molecular mechanisms of plants resistance to snow mold infection, which has not been known so far. Based on this knowledge, the development of varieties of wheat, barley, grasses, etc. with strong snow mold resistance as well as snow mold control technology is expected to progress. Read more


Extension and publication of silkworm gene expression data

The National Agricultural Food Research Organization (NARO) has created and published the data indicating the type of gene and where & to what extent they work (comprehensive gene expression) in silkworm larvae during the critical period for silk protein production. It is expected that this research outcome will further highlight the high protein synthesis capacity of silkworms and pave the way for using silkworms for the production of useful proteins. Read more


A mechanism regulating rice root thickness under the mild drought condition

The National Agricultural Food Research Organization (NARO) scientists have collected phenomes and transcriptomes of 61 rice accessions with highly diverse below-ground traits grown in an upland field. NARO team discovered genes negatively associated with root growth under the mild drought condition. The study could lead to development of drought-resistant rice cultivars and provides insights on the genomic and transcriptomic basis of phenotypic variation under upland field conditions. Read more


Identification of key substances for desiccation tolerance in an anhydrobiotic insect and elucidation of their functions

The National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), in collaboration with the Riken research institute, etc. have identified key substances that are accumulated during the desiccation and rehydration (re-immersion in water) of Polypedilum vanderplanki, an anhydrobiotic insect, and have elucidated their functions. By utilizing the substances identified from this research, it is expected to pave the way for the development of a new technology for storing cells at room temperature. Read more


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