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SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series and JSPS seminar, Shigehiro Kuraku, Vertebrate Genome Evolution

Monday September 4

co-hosted with Japanese Society for the Promotion of Sciences (JSPS)

Shigehiro Kuraku

Phyloinformatics Unit, RIKEN Center for Life Science Technologies, Kobe, Japan

Shigehiro Kuraku started his career in the field of molecular phylogenetics and later got involved in developmental biology for his PhD. He held an assistant professorship in University of Konstanz, Germany, where he mainly worked on genome informatics. Since 2012, he has been working in RIKEN Kobe, Japan, to conduct his original research on jawless fishes and cartilaginous fishes, while managing an integrative genome analysis station with an in-house DNA sequencing facility.

Elucidating the early process of vertebrate genome evolution

Some parts of our bodies, such as complex brain and limbs, originated in early vertebrate evolution. It should have accompanied fine-tune neural and hormonal controls, enabling elaborate behaviors and homeostasis. To elucidate their evolutionary processes, jawless fishes (hagfishes and lampreys) as well as cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays, skates, and chimaeras) have been studied, which is, however, limited to few study systems that allow molecular-level scrutiny. We commenced genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenomic analyses on diverse species in these animal groups, including sharks whose whole genome sequences have not been intensively analyzed. They revealed the repertory of genes responsible for morphogenesis and physiology in mammals as well as their relatedness to those of humans and traditional laboratory animals. It is expected that the outcome of our study will assist us to disentangle the complex history of early vertebrate evolution.

Read more about Shigehiro Kurakus research here

Host: Dan Larhammar (

JSPS host: Tadaharu Tsumoto (Director JSPS Stockholm)