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RIKEN Baton Zone Program Plant Breeding Innovation Laboratory

Team Leader: Norio Kato (D.Agr.)
Deputy Team Leader: Minami Matsui (D.Sci.)

Research Summary

Norio  Kato(D.Agr.) Minami Matsui

Conventional and genetic modification-based breeding methods have been used to improve crops. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet the growing demand for food and biomass for various reasons including population increase and climate change. Therefore innovation in the area of plant breeding is more important than ever before. We have succeeded in developing an innovative platform technology that enables selectable marker-free genome editing using zygotes in rice. In this coming two years, we aim to apply this technology to other agronomically important species including wheat and corn, and establish it as a fundamental technology for next generation breeding.

[Integrated Collaborative Research with Japan Tobacco Inc.]

Main Research Fields

  • Agricultural Sciences

Related Research Fields

  • Biology
  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Agricultural and environmental biology


  • Genome editing
  • Plant zygote
  • Cell culture
  • Gene expression regulation

Selected Publications

Papers with an asterisk(*) are based on research conducted outside of RIKEN.

  • 1.Toda, E. N. Koiso, A. Takebayashi, M. Ichikawa, T. Kiba, K. Osakabe, Y. Osakabe, H. Sakakibara, N. Kato, T.. Okamoto.:
    "An efficient DNA- and selectable-marker-free genome-editing system using zygotes in rice"
    Nature Plants (in Press) DOI: 10.1038/s41477-019-0386-z
  • 2.Maryenti, T, N. Kato, M. Ichikawa, Takashi Okamoto.:
    Establishment of an in vitro fertilization system in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)
    Plant Cell Physiol. (in Press)
  • 3.Koiso, N., E. Toda, M. Ichikawa, N. Kato and Takashi Okamoto.:
    "Development of gene expression system in egg cells and zygotes isolated from rice and maize."
    Plant Direct 2017: p. 1-10.
  • 4.*Komori, T., T. Imayama, N. Kato, Y. Ishida, J. Ueki, and T. Komari.:
    Current status of binary vectors and superbinary vectors.
    Plant Physiol, 2007. 145(4): p. 1155-60.
  • 5.*Sato, S., N. Katoh, S. Iwai and M. Hagimori.:
    "Frequency of spontaneous polyploidization of embryos regenerated from cultured anthers or microspores of Brassica rapa var. pekinensis L. and B. oleracea var. capitata L."
    Breeding Science 2005. 55: p. 99-102.
  • 6.*Katoh, N., M. Yui, S. Sato, T. Shirai, H. Yuasa, and M. Hagimori.:
    "Production of virus-free plants from virus-infected sweet pepper by in vitro grafting."
    Scientia Horticulturae, 2004. 100: p. 1-6.
  • 7.*Katoh, N., K. Tokuhiro, T. Nakabayashi, H. Yoshida, and M. Hagimori.:
    "Breeding of Red-flowering Delphiniums using Interspecific Hybrids Produced by in Vitro Germination."
    Breeding Science, 2004. 54: p. 99-103.
  • 8.*Katoh, N., H. Lorz, and E. Kranz.:
    "Isolation of viable egg cells of rape (Brassica napus L.)."
    Zygote, 1997. 5(1): p. 31-33.

Lab Members

Principal investigator

Norio Kato
Team Leader

Core members

Minami Matsui
Deputy Team Leader
Hitoshi Sakakibara
Senior Visiting Scientist
Takatoshi Kiba
Senior Visiting Scientist
Yuriko Osakabe
Senior Visiting Scientist
Takashi Okamoto
Senior Visiting Scientist
Toru Kudo
Visiting Scientist
Tomoko Kuriyama
Technical Staff I
Keiko Mannen
Technical Staff I

Contact Information

1-7-22 Suehiro-cho, Tsurumi-ku,
Yokohama City, Kanagawa,
230-0045, Japan
Email: norio.kato [at] riken.jp