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.
An eye irritation test method using a culture model that reproduces the corneal structure is included in the OECD test guidelines
The joint collaboration of National Agriculture and Food Research Organization, The National Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) and KANTO CHEMICAL CO., INC. has developed a "Vitrigel-Eye Irritancy Test (Vitrigel-EIT) method". This test method which is used to determine the eye irritation potential of chemicals without using animals is listed/published in the unified test method (OECD Test Guideline) defined by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is an international official method. Read more
New genome editing technology for rice
Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, NARO (NIAS) in collaboration with Ehime University have developed a new genome editing technology for rice that enables base substitution from adenine (A) to guanine (G) with extended target range. A new ABEs (nSpCas9‐NGv1) using SpCas9‐NGv1 that have NG as protospacer adjacent motif (PAM) was developed and has successfully induced A-G base substitutions in endogenous sites of the rice genome. In the future, application of this technology will be verified for plants other than rice. The research results are now available in the online version of the international journal "Plant Biotechnology Journal" published as Early View on May 1, 2019. Read more
NARO in collaboration with a private company, have succeeded in collecting straight and long fiber of bagworm silk last year. Bagworm silk is found to be superior to spider silk, which was earlier said to be the strongest in naturally produced fibers, in aspects such as elasticity, fracture strength, and toughness. Hence bagworm silk is expected to its used as a new industrial fiber. In order to elucidate the strength mechanism of the bagworm silk, NARO and Toyota Institute of Technology have elaborately investigated the primary structure, secondary structure, and higher-order structure of silk proteins that are components of the bagworm silk. It was evident from the study that the strength of the bagworm silk was due to the highly ordered hierarchical structure of silk proteins. Read more