In recent years, tremendous progress in molecular biological techniques has markedly changed the experimental approaches and strategies in life science. This is especially true in the field of genome science, where the human genome has been completely sequenced and total genome sequencing analysis is now very common in microbiology. The driving force for this recent progress has been stimulated by the development and wide distribution of next-generation sequencers, which have enabled us to obtain large quantities of genome information within a short time. Life science has entered a new era, where the first approach was to obtain genome information.
Aquatic bioscience is no exception, where significant progress has been attained by using next-generation sequencers, and this progress is also particularly prominent in aquatic microbiology; new research focusing on metagenomics, which employs next-generation sequencers, has emerged. Genomic analysis is now possible by metagenomic approaches for bacteria that are unculturable by conventional methods. Therefore, research on various matters, such as effective utilization of aquatic bacterial resources, analysis of lower ecosystems based on bacteria that play primary roles in ocean productivity, and genomic analysis of bacteria that cause fish diseases, has been conducted, resulting in the publication of various research papers.
The exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around Japan is one of the highest biodiversity areas in the world. This high biodiversity produces abundant bioresources, and Japan, as a maritime nation, has benefited from these bioresources for a long time. Against this background, Japan has developed a reputation as one of the first nations to actively conduct academic research on marine biotechnology since the 1980s, and has been promoting the active utilization of marine bioresources, recognizing the importance of marine biodiversity supported by physical and chemical field research in marine environments.
This symposium aims to introduce the latest research on aquatic metagenomics, which is now receiving much attention in relation to environmental conservation as well as stock management and industrial application of aquatic bioresources; this symposium is also devoted to profound and fruitful discussions on issues we are confronting at the international level. Genomic analysis of aquatic organisms by aquatic metagenomics is important not only for a better understanding of aquatic life, but also for industrial application and practical approaches to environmental issues. Hence, this symposium also focuses on the current conditions and latest research in the field of general aquatic genomics.
A special lecture will be given at this symposium by Dr. James D. Watson, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962. As is well known, Dr. Watson’s proposal for the double-helix model of DNA structure and the elucidation of its biological functions brought about dramatic changes in biology. Dr. Watson’s special lecture will surely stimulate future research on aquatic genomics.