Message from the Director-General

HANAOKA, Fumio

Since the middle of the 20th century, genetics research has developed from being a part of classical biology to being the basis of life science, and has incorporated physics and chemistry since the discovery that genes are made of double-helical structured DNA. Furthermore, following the rapid development and applications such as gene recombination, genome sequencing of animals, plants and humans, and genome editing, research in genetics is going through significant changes which will also have a big impact on the humanities and social sciences.

The National Institute of Genetics (NIG) was established by the Ministry of Education in 1949 for integrated and applied study of theory and basic research in genetics, as well as its instruction and promotion. Its history has overlapped with the explosive development of life science, and we have produced many outstanding scientific achievements including the neutral theory of molecular evolution, the discovery of the mRNA capping mechanism, and the identification of DNA replication origins, among others. Since NIG was reorganized as an Inter-University Research Institute in 1984, we have taken the role of stimulating the entire academic community as a national core center for genetics. Additionally, NIG has functioned as the Department of Genetics, SOKENDAI (the Graduate University for Advanced Studies) offering a unique postgraduate program since 1988.

Incorporated with other three institutes – the National Institute of Informatics, the National Institute of Polar Research and the National Institute of Statistical Mathematics – as the Research Organization of Information and Systems in 2004, we address issues affecting the future of humanity from the aspect of “information” and “systems”.

Currently we have 500 members working in research, maintenance, education and supervision. There are 36 internationally acclaimed groups in varied fields ranging from bacteria to humans, from molecules to populations, and from theory to experiments.

We also 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 Center for Frontier Research has been offered to provide a stimulating environment featuring a wide range of research, which we consider essential to foster outstanding young scientists.

Our role is to promote our research fields, to share our research achievements worldwide, and to introduce them to society. There are many wonders in life science and NIG is dedicated to tackling such mysteries from the genetic point of view through collaboration with international researchers and driven by new discoveries that will lead to improvements in human welfare. Your understanding and continued support of our activities is cordially appreciated.


HANAOKA, Fumio
Director-General, National Institute of Genetics