The ancient technology of producing raw silk is now being applied by such state-of-the-art industries as genetic engineering and biotechnology.

Sericulture, a technology thought to have been introduced to Japan in the Yayoi Period (300 B.C. to A.D. 250) from China, played a key role in modernizing the country during and after the Meiji Era (1868-1912).

While the development of artificial fibers and rayon dealt the silk industry a severe blow, the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, is now breeding genetically modified silkworms that produce proteins instead of silk.