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Research Group

Biodiversity IV: Genetic Diversity

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Biodiversity IV: Genetic Diversity

Our lab is located in the building of the Genome Dynamics Research Center. Our staff members belong to the Faculty of Science; the graduate students of our lab study in the Department of Natural History Sciences, Graduate School of Science; and the undergraduate students study in the Department of Biology, School of Science.
The research object of our lab is to analyze the molecular phylogeny and population genetics of mammals and birds and to elucidate the mechanisms of establishment of the endemic fauna as well as the zoogeographical history of the Japanese islands. It is also important to investigate the zoogeographical value of demarcations around Japan, such as the Tsugaru strait (Blakiston’s line). For this research, we analyze nucleotide sequences in the genes and genotypes of gene loci and examine the molecular phylogenetics and population genetics of species and populations. In addition to modern DNA analysis, we develop ancient DNA protocols to study distinct animals and archaeological specimens and clarify the temporal and spatial changes of biodiversity. The results provide biological data for evaluation under the perspective of biodiversity status, and a contribution to the conservation of endangered species.
In addition, we develop the methodology of genetic analysis on non-invasive samples such as feces from field. We think that on-going studies in our lab to clarify distribution and behavioral patterns of species and individuals using the non-invasive techniques are included in zoogeographical research. Our zoogeographical study should also contribute to resolution of problems currently produced by invasive species.

See Biodiversity IV Website

Faculties

増田 隆一 / Masuda Ryuichi
Professor

Masuda Ryuichi / 増田 隆一

Fields of Specialty
Molecular phylogeny and population genetics of mammals and birds.
Website
/grp/lgd/genetics/english/people.html#pr
Research Contents
The themes of our laboratory are the molecular phylogenetics and population genetics of mammals and birds. The study of geographic variation and species endemism in the Japanese archipelago provides a good means of understanding the process of differentiation among animal populations, and ultimately of understanding speciation. Our group analyzes variation in neutral and functional genes to study phylogeographic patterns at scales ranging from local (species and populations in Japan) to continental and global. Additionally, we analyze ancient DNA to clarify the geographical histories of populations and the dynamics of these populations through time.
江田 真毅 / Eda Masaki
Lecturer

Eda Masaki / 江田 真毅

Fields of Specialty
Zooarchaeology, Archeozoology, Phylogeography
Website
http://researchers.general.hokudai.ac.jp/profile/en.7JO2fGIrG39JOgvRBLdmpw==.html
Research Contents
I am interested in the archaeology of animals, especially birds. Faunal remains in archaeological sites, especially bones, are useful for deducing past human activities (zooarchaeological view). At the same time, these remains come from animals in the past and are useful for reconstructing ancient animal ecology (archaeozoological view). Combining osteological analysis with analyses of stable isotopes, ancient DNA, and proteomes, I study microevolution and temporal distributional changes in animals, and the history of relationships between humans and animals.
西田 義憲 / Nishita Yoshinori
Assistant Professor

Nishita Yoshinori / 西田 義憲

Fields of Specialty
Molecular biology, Molecular phylogeny of animals
Website
/bio/teacher/t-0540.php#en
Research Contents
Japan is very long country from north to south, and covers a wide range of climatic zones. This results in a high diversity of wildlife, and approximately 40 species of endemic land mammal inhabit in Japan. According to the biogeographic uniqueness of Japanese islands, it is important to investigate genetic characteristics of species endemic to Japan, compared with the closely related species on the continent. Investigation for genetic characteristics of functional genes as well as neutral genes can provide useful information in studying phylogeographic patterns. As an example of functional genes, we focus on major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, which exhibit numerous alleles with extensive sequence variations. Based on the nucleotide diversity of functional genes including MHC, we study on evolutionary relevant and adaptive processes within and between Japan endemic populations.

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