Hitoshi Kihara was born on 21 October 1893 in Tokyo, Japan. He graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido Imperial University and served as a professor at the Faculty of Agriculture, Kyoto University from 1927 to 1956 and the National Institute of Genetics from 1955 to 1969, and also served at Kihara Institute for Biological Research from 1942 to 1984. He was elected a member of the Japan Academy.
Since 1983, the Genetics Society of Japan (GSJ) has awarded the Kihara Prize to researchers who made a considerable achievement in the field of genetics in honor of Hitoshi Kihara who contributed on a global scale to the field of genetics and study of evolution with his research centering on wheat.
At that time, it was mandatory for a Japanese academic to work overseas for a number of years in order to gain admission as members of research faculties. While working in Germany, Hitoshi Kihara studied the genetics of Rumex acetosella and other Sorrel species, and discovered the sex chromosomes. In 1936, he noticed that in wheat seven chromosomes become a pair that performs the lowest gene function, and thus nemed it genome. The concept of genome extended all over the world and formed the basis for development of biology and genetic engineering.
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