The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Biological Resource Laboratory, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Takashi Kuwana

Establishment of a cell storage bank for East Asian/Eurasian rare birds

Research grant

Project Description

Of much importance in terms of biological diversity/resource sustainability is the preservation of not only the diversity of species, but also of diversity within species. Endangered species generally live in fragile environments and, oftentimes, harbor precious genetic resources. The preservation of species and genetic diversity, together with research making use of such cells and genes, makes it possible to—indeed, is necessary for—maintaining biological diversity. In this research, we work to advance international standardization of avian cell culturing and cryogenic preservation techniques developed in Japan and, simultaneously, to promote the stable cryogenic preservation of avian species in Asia and Far East Eurasia. We establish a framework for the cellular preservation of rare wild birds together with a framework for the development of tools/techniques for utilizing such samples, including an international cell preservation network and international standardization. And, in conjunction, we also work towards an international standardization of preservation techniques, including those useful for inspections/quarantines of avian influenza and other infectious diseases. This work is carried out in collaboration with core research institutions with Thailand, South Korea, Russia, and other countries.

Climate changePreservation of biodiversity and ecosystem
Grant year
FY2007 Research Grants
Grant term
3 years
April 2008 - March 2011
Grant amount
50,083,342 yen
Activity region
Russia (Khabarovsk), South Korea, Thailand, Japan (Hokkaido, Okinawa, etc.)
Long-term, 160°C cryogenic storage of rare bird cells

Overview of the Organization

Takashi Kuwana, Biological Resource Laboratory
Takashi Kuwana, Biological Resource Laboratory
Specialist fields
Developmental engineering, reproductive biology
Affiliated academic societies
The Society for Reproduction and Development; Japan Poultry Science Association; Japanese Society of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Previous positions include Lecturer at the School of Medicine, Kumamoto University; Head of pathology section, National Institute for Minamata Disease; and assumed current position in 2003. Medical doctor.
WEB site
Collaborating researchers
Research record
World's first researcher to develop a long-term avian cell culturing system; also succeeded in producing a progeny individual using an avian reproduction stem cell transplanted from gonad chimera. Furthermore, since 2003, has been conducting the long-term preservation of the living cells and genetic materials of domestic endangered species (mammals, birds, fish).
  • (1) Long-term culture of avian embryonic cells in vitro., Internat. J. Develop. Biol., 40: 1061-1064, 1996.
  • (2) Conservation of a threatened indigenous fowl (Kureko Dori) using the germline chimeras transplanted from primordial germ cells. Jour Poult Scie, 43(1), 60-66, 2006.