Why do we study on yeasts?

Yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae is a unicellular eukaryote and is frequently used for industrial ethanol fermentation. Besides, because of the following reasons, S. cerevisiae has been a valuable model experimental organism for basic researches on biological phenomena commonly observed in eukaryotic species. First, S. cerevisiae cells can be quickly and inexpensively grown. Second, in comparison to higher eukaryotes, the genome size of S. cerevisiae is fairly small. Therefore, in general terms, cellular systems in S. cerevisiae are simpler than those in higher eukaryotes, and can thus be explored rapidly. It should be noted that the S. cerevisiae genome, the size of which is 13.3 Mb, was the first eukaryotic genome to be completely sequenced. Third, various techniques are available for genetic engineering of S. cerevisiae cells.

We are therefore studying on the UPR using S. cerevisiae as a model organism. Our findings have been applied to other organisms, and have contributed to the progress of animal science.

Moreover, yeasts including S. cerevisiae are industrially beneficial for production of a wide variety of commercial materials. We believe that our findings will also contribute to the molecular breeding of yeast strains for industrial usages.

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Kimata is serving as a yeast consortium fellow of the Ohsumi Frontier Science Foundation