Department of Life Science and Biotechnology

Realizing a healthy, active, aged society and creating a sustainable society

A society in which people live a long life in good health and at ease, and a sustainable society with reduced environmental load is desired. We are contributing to life innovation by developing new technologies to evaluate health and to promote drug discovery, as well as to maintain, improve, and recover health according to individual conditions. We are also contributing to green innovation by developing technologies to reduce environmental loads using bioprocesses.


New Research Results

Leaf Beetles Digest Food Leaves by Enzymes from a Bacterial Symbiont

AIST investigated the tortoise leaf beetle, identified a bactrerial symbiont, and named it Stammera. Its whole-genome sequence was determined, and it is found that the genome of Stammera is specialized for production of enzymes to degrade pectin. When the larvae were deprived of Stammera by sterilization, the pectin-degrading activities in the alimentary tract significantly decreased, and their growth and survival were inhibited. It is likely that the host insect breaks the plant cell wall with the help of Stammera.


Effects of symbiont sterilization on host’s survival

Experimental Verification of the Evolutionary Neutrality of the 16S rRNA Gene, an Indicator for Evolutionary Taxonomy

AIST and Hokkaido University conducted comparative analysis of the functions of 16S rRNA found in the ribosomes of two distinct bacteria. It was found that the majority of the sequence differences between the analyzed 16S rRNA genes did not result in a significant effect on functions. This outcome provides the first-ever experimental demonstration that the 16S rRNA gene fulfill the condition of evolutionary neutrality, which is a basic requirement for use as a molecular clock in evolutionary phylogenic analysis.


Cradle model of ribosome evolution based on comparative analysis involving substitution of 16S rRNA

Research Unit

Open Innovation Laboratory

Since FY 2016, as a part of the “Open Innovation Arena concept” promoted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), AIST has created the concept of “open innovation laboratories” (OILs), collaborative research bases located on university campuses, and has been engaged in their provision. We are planning to establish more than ten OILs by FY 2020.

AIST will merge the basic research carried out at universities, etc. with AISTʼs goal-oriented basic research and applied technology development, and will promote bridging research and evelopment and industry by the establishment of OILs.

  • AIST-Waseda University Computational Bio Big-Data Open Innovation Laboratory (CBBD-OIL)
  • AIST-Osaka University Advanced Photonics and Biosensing Open Innovation Laboratory (PhotoBIO-OIL)

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