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Research Theme

1, Genetic network for development, sex determination, metamorphosis, diapause, reproduction, and behavior in insects.
2, Transposon-mediated random mutagenesis in the silkworm, Bombyx mori.
Comparative genomics among insect species to elucidate the mechanism of evolution.
3, Molecular mechanism of host plant selection in phytophagous insects.
4, Full-length cDNA database of the silkworms.
5, Function of non-coding RNAs in insects.
6, Molecular interactions between viruses and their host insects.
7, Functional analyses of genes in insect viruses.

Main Research

Insects show specific biological phenomena including metamorphosis, diapause, and so on. They also express very diverse morphological and ecological traits. These peculiar biological characteristics have been acquired by long-term evolution of genes. We, Laboratory of Insect Genetics and Bioscience, aim to utilize and regulate the genes controlling such insect-specific functions, and apply the genetic knowledges for industrial production of biomaterials and control of pest insects. The insect genomes, however, contain approximately 20,000 genes, and many of them have not yet been studied about the structures nor functions. Our laboratory is analyzing the mechanism how the genes control development, reproduction, and behavior of insects, by using genome informatics, transgenic technology, and other modern techniques. Although our major material is Bombyx mori, we also use other various insects, invertebrates, insect viruses, and insect-pathogenic microbes for basic studies to develop new strategies for biotechnology and pest control of insects.

Education

Insects show specific biological phenomena including metamorphosis, diapause, and so on. They also express very diverse morphological and ecological traits. These peculiar biological characteristics have been acquired by long-term evolution of genes. We, Laboratory of Insect Genetics and Bioscience, aim to utilize and regulate the genes controlling such insect-specific functions, and apply the genetic knowledges for industrial production of biomaterials and control of pest insects. The insect genomes, however, contain approximately 20,000 genes, and many of them have not yet been studied about the structures nor functions. Our laboratory is analyzing the mechanism how the genes control development, reproduction, and behavior of insects, by using genome informatics, transgenic technology, and other modern techniques. Although our major material is Bombyx mori, we also use other various insects, invertebrates, insect viruses, and insect-pathogenic microbes for basic studies to develop new strategies for biotechnology and pest control of insects.

Left: Transgenic silkworm into which we introduced a sex-determining gene, Bmdsx, using EGFP (green fluorescent protein) as a marker (upper). Because the eye-specific promoter drives the EGFP gene, you can see the fluorescence in compound eyes. Lower, control (non-transgenic).
Right: Comparison of Bombyx fatbody RNAs between the female and male using a DNA microarry carrying 6000 cDNAs. The red spots represent female-specifically expressed genes, and the green spots male-specifically expressed ones.

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