Molecular and Chemical Life Science :
Molecular and Network Genomics


Plant Molecular Breeding

Plant Molecular Breeding

To date, the genome editing is possible in angiosperms.  In order to use this tool, it is necessary to comprehensively understand the complex traits behind plant morphogenesis and reproduction.  We are interested in discovering the underlying molecular mechanisms that control these complex traits.  In the Laboratory of Plant Molecular Breeding, we are studying the molecular mechanisms of the genes encoding key factors for these complex traits by interdisciplinary methods.  Ultimately, we aim to carry out molecular breeding for these targeted complex traits in higher plants.

One area of focus is pollen-stigma interaction, especially self-incompatibility (SI) in Brassica species.  Our work on SI has been extensively published in excellent journals. Other areas of interest are the molecular mechanisms of floral diversification in non-grass monocots (lily, tulip, orchid, etc.) and sex determination of the dioecious Asparagus species including garden asparagus.

Research Overview

In this laboratory, we performed high level of research and education at two fields, the molecular dissection of self/non-self recognition of self-incompatibility in Brassica species and the functional analysis of floral organ development with Asparagus species.  Due to the reorganization of this Graduate School, we will focus to important traits regulating plant life cycle as well as reproductive traits.  Furthermore, we will develop the methodology of molecular breeding in important crops.  In order to perform the focusing points described above, we will do interdisciplinary research with related fields, bioinformatics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, by collaborative works to different laboratories.

Some examples of the achievements of this laboratory include receiving 12 domestic awards (the 7th JSPS Prize, the 11th Nikkei Business Publications Technology Award Grand Prize, the 2013 Commendation for Science and Technology by the MEXT, etc.) in connection with our analysis of self-incompatibility in Brassica species and reproductive organ-specific genes in higher plants. These studies have also been published in famous journals such as Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Plants, Nature Communications, and Science. The research and education of self-incompatibility in Brassica species, are globally at the top level.

URLs http://www.ige.tohoku.ac.jp/prg/

Faculty Members

Professor WATANABE Masao
  • Dissection of molecular mechanism of self-incompatibility in Brassica species
  • Molecular dissection of key factors related to pollination process and its environmental adaptation
  • Dissection of molecular mechanism of epigenetic control in higher plants
  • Molecular dissection of key genes regulating the domestication of higher plants
Associate Professor KANNO Akira
  • Molecular mechanism of sex differentiation in the dioecious plant asparagus.
  • Molecular mechanism of floral organ development in Liliaceae and Orchidaceae plants.
Associate Professor (Cross Appointment) ITO-INABA Yasuko
Elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying floral thermogenesis and the evolutionary processes in which plants acquire or lose heat-producing ability.