Hitoshi Kihara

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Hitoshi Kihara (木原 均, Kihara Hitoshi, 21 October 1893 – 27 July 1986) was a Japanese geneticist known for his work on the genetics of wheat.[1]


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.[1] He was elected a member of the Japan Academy.[2]

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.[3]

In 1985, the Kihara Memorial Yokohama Foundation for the Advancement of Life Sciences was established in Yokohama, to commemorate Hitoshi Kihara and to promote life sciences.[4]


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.[1] In 1936, he noticed that in wheat seven chromosomes become a pair that performs the lowest gene function, and thus nemed it genome.[5] The concept of genome extended all over the world and formed the basis for development of biology and genetic engineering.

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  1. ^ a b c Crow, James F. (August 1991). "Anecdotal, Historical and Critical Commentaries on Genetics" (PDF). Genetics. Genetics Society of America. 137: 891–894. OCLC 469812548. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  2. ^ "KIHARA, Hitoshi, Deceased members of the Japan Academy". Japan Academy. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Kihara Prize and The GSJ Award for Young Scientists". The Genetics Society of Japan. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "ABSTRACT OF THE FOUNDATION". Kihara Memorial Yokohama Foundation for the Achievement of Life Sciences. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Hitoshi Kihara, a proponent of the genome concept". The World’s Greatest Japanese. Retrieved 30 January 2013. 

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