Message from the Director-General

KATSURA, Isao
KATSURA, Isao Director-General 

Who could foresee the success of genetics when Gregor Johann Mendel cultivated pea plants in a monastery garden and found the unit of inheritance? After this great event, genetics, namely, the study of inheritance and variation of biological organisms, developed continuously through the 20th century and uncovered the ultimate secret of life: the activity of biological organisms is based on the genetic information of DNA, or life is supported by a simple linear code, i.e., “words”. On this basis, genetics has now expanded not only to all fields of basic biology but also to many applied sciences.

The National Institute of Genetics was established at Mishima in 1949, and since has produced many outstanding scientific achievements including the neutral theory of molecular evolution by Motoo Kimura. Continuing the tradition, we are conducting research in many fields of genetics and related fields, ranging from bacteria to humans, from molecules to populations, and from theory to experiments. We consider this diversity of research is essential to the stimulating environment that fosters a community of researchers.

We serve the scientific community in Japan and the world by providing research infrastructure, including the DNA database (DDBJ), bio-resources of various experimental organisms, and advanced genomic services. Science education is also a central part of our activity, and we provide graduate education as the Department of Genetics, SOKENDAI (The Graduate University for Advanced Studies). In addition, constant dialog with non-scientists is an important part of our mission.

Genetic approaches remain critical for addressing key issues in the life sciences, and we will continue our commitment to excellence in research, service, and education.