One of the causes of global temperature rise and climate change is the accumulation of greenhouse gases, and one of the solutions is to improve CO2 absorption/storage by enhancing photosynthesis in plants.

Improved plant breeding is also a pressing issue in the problem of increasing food production to feed an ever-growing population.

The genetic information that is the target of plant breeding and improvement resides not only in the nucleus but also in two types of organelles, chloroplasts and mitochondria.


The organelle genome contains key genes involved in plant energy production, such as photosynthesis and respiration, and genes responsible for the important trait of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS), which underpins modern agricultural hybrid breeding, and understanding and improving the breeding of these genes is essential for future advanced use of plants. However, it has been considered difficult (chloroplasts) or impossible (mitochondria) to modify these organelle genomes, and this technical barrier has been a rate-limiting factor and obstacle to basic organelle genome research and application development.


Against this background, the research group led by Associate Professor Arimura, who is coordinating this project at the University of Tokyo, has recently succeeded in developing the world's first 'plant mitochondrial genome editing technology' and 'targeted single nucleotide editing technology for chloroplast genomes'. These two technologies are now expected to make significant contributions to the future development of basic science and application of plant organelles as world-leading technological breakthroughs.



This project will use these technologies as a basis and opportunity to promote cutting-edge collaborative research with diverse plant organelle researchers in three countries, with Professor Gualberto and colleagues from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique/Université de Strasbourg, France, who are at the forefront of mitochondrial research, and Professor Schmitz-Linneweber and colleagues from Humboldt University, Germany, who are world-class researchers in chloroplast genome function, representing the counterparts. In parallel with the joint research, each country will organise international conferences during the period to promote research exchanges among young researchers and graduate students, with the aim of making long-term progress in basic research on chloroplasts and mitochondria, which is directly related to the global problems of food production, CO2 absorption and energy, and to establish an international research exchange centre that will contribute to the world.