For General Public

What are Bioresources?

Here, we will give a brief explanation of bioresources so that even beginners can easily understand.

Bioresources are essential for life science researches and bioindustry

“Bioresources” are laboratory animals, plants, cells, genes, and microorganisms used for researches. Bio means “biology” and resource means as is “resource”. In other words, it is called “biological resources”.

The basic mechanisms of life are common to many organisms. We are conducting research on the causes and treatment of diseases using experimental animals as models. The functions of plants and microorganisms are used to solve food and environmental problems and improve our health.

If there is no bioresource …

There are many problems surrounding our lives, such as illness and food shortages. To solve these problems, life science research is needed. Various bioresources are used in research and development. Without bioresources, they cannot conduct researches of diseases or drug development. Issues on the environment, energy and food that support our lives would remain unsolved. In addition, bioresources are necessary for a research on health and production of proper amount of food.

Because there is bioresource, it becomes possible!

Bioresources support the development of life sciences and bio industry. The results of many studies using bioresources, from basic research to the development of new drugs, have been helped our lives.

Understanding disease / Making drugs

picture of drugs

For basic studies of causes and treatments of human disease, experimental animals such as mice, and human and animal cells cultured in test tubes are used. Comparing sick animals with healthy animals can help our understanding of the cause of the diseases. Furthermore, if you find genes and proteins related to diseases and find their functions, it makes possible to develop drugs for the diseases. Bioresources such as experimental animals and cells of human and animal origin are indispensable for preliminary tests of the effects of drugs and treatments.

Discovery of new treatments

Recently, realization of regenerative medicine using iPS cells and ES cells is expected. Regenerative medicine is a treatment that restores tissues and organs and their functions that have been lost due to disease or injury. Using iPS cells and ES cells not only enables regenerative medicine, but also contribute to develop a treatment of intractable diseases and development of new drugs with fewer side effects. These have been attracting attention to bioresources because they are key to the realization of next-generation treatment after surgery and medication.

For healthy life

picture of healthy elderly couple

Microorganisms contribute to health promotion. Multiple researches are underway to discover and utilize the various functions of microorganisms. Enterobacteria have been reported to be closely associated with colorectal cancer, allergies, and obesity. Elucidating the functions of intestinal bacteria may help prevent diseases and aging. In addition, the results of prevention of obesity and dental caries using yogurt lactic acid bacteria have been patented.

To solve food problems

Due to population growth and climate change, food shortages are predicted in near future. If you can harvest enough amount of crops and make crops that are resistant to drought and warm weather, they may strongly contribute to solve the food problem. Previous studies have shown that crop properties are determined by genetic information. Therefore, research on the genes of experimental plants such as Arabidopsis thaliana is being conducted to find tips for breeding excellent crops.

To solve environmental problems

Active use of bioresources such as plants and microorganisms are hoped to solve environmental problems. Research is underway to produce fuel by fermenting rice straw and energy by dissolving garbage. Energy produced from plants and microorganisms is renewable and is hoped to help prevent global warming.

To solve the mysteries of life

Bioresources are essential for solving the mysteries of life, such as elucidating the mechanism of human ontogeny and evolution. The mystery of life has been revealed one after another by reading and classifying meaningful information from a vast amount of genetic information or by examining the functions of genes in various model organisms. Bioresources have brought many discoveries so far.