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Group Introduction

Molecular and Cellular Breeding Research Group

Introduction to research

In order to expand the industrial use of advanced function of cells and biological molecules, we aim to promote a new technology called “molecular and cellular breeding technology” based on the understanding of the evolvability which is inherent in all living objects. Since cells and biological molecules can be regarded as rational machines as well as consequences of evolution, we develop the technology through the elucidation and integration of both physical necessity and historical contingency behind them.

Development of protein breeding technology

Proteins play a major role in both biological phenomena and biopharmaceutical process such as drug discovery, manufacturing, and quality control. To generate functional proteins that promote biopharmaceutical industry, we have developed protein-breeding technology on the basis of rational protein design and evolutionary engineering. To date, we have generated a wide variety of artificial proteins such as 10-residue minimal protein chignolin, functional proteins that evolve from chignolin, stabilized cytokines, antibody-like artificial proteins, conformation-specific ligands for quality control of biologicals.

Development of yeast-cell breeding technology

Yeast has been widely utilized in bioindustry. It’s possible to improve quality and quantity of products such as food and medicines by breeding superior yeast strains. In cross-breeding, a new a/α-yeast cell (hybrid cell) is produced by artificial mating of differently-originated a- and α-cells. However, there are lots of a/α-cells, produced by undesirable mating of a- and α-cells derived from the same origin, as arisings in crossbreeding. We developed the technology to prevent generation of these arisings, and succeeded to dramatically increase the efficiency of hybrid cell generation. Our approach can be applied to yeast strains those have been hard targets in cross-breeding. To generate superior yeast strains with high industrial value, we will further advance our technology.

List of Publications



  • Shinya Honda (Research Group Leader)    
  • Motonari Shibakam
  • Takayuki Odahara  
  • Hideki Watanabe  
  • Nobuo Fukuda
  • Kazuhiko Ishikawa (MP: Kansai Collaboration Center)
  • Yukako Senga
  • MP=Main Post, AP=Additional Post