The NIAS is conducting extensive research on efficient production of genetically modified organisms (GMO), genetic characterization, utilization as experimental tools, and analysis of impact to the environment and human health. These studies are aimed at raising agricultural productivity, improving the functionality of agriculturally important organisms as sources of novel products, and the development of new industries based on biotechnology. Transgenic research is expected to be the link to the future as the world faces severe food problems brought about by increasing population, depletion of natural resources, and global warming.
In all research activities, NIAS adheres to the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety aimed at protecting biological diversity from the risks posed by GMOs. The institute also addresses the concern of the general public on the safe maintenance, handling, and use of GMOs.
Genetic modification of agricultural plants could lead to increased crop yields, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater food security, and medical benefits to the world's growing population. The NIAS is generating transgenic crops via the GMO Research Center. In the process, the institute is maintaining a strict policy to ensure the safe handling and use of transgenic crops. All activities related to the cultivation of transgenic crops are announced via press conferences, and visits to experimental fields are organized to increase public awareness on the safety procedures being followed in transgenic research.
The NIAS is developing transgenic silkworms for fundamental research and applications and has already succeeded in harnessing the silkworms' remarkable ability to produce proteins other than those they naturally make. The research units focusing on transgenic research aims to promote fundamental research and application by identifying gene functions, producing useful recombinant proteins for tests as drugs and medicines, and developing new materials from silk that will propel new industries.
Transgenic pig research is aimed at establishing pig as a model for medical research and development of new drugs. The Transgenic Pig Research Unit of the GMO Research Center is developing advanced technologies for production of transgenic pigs via genetic engineering combined with cloning for practical applications.