I joined Ecological Genetics Research Unit in August, 2006 after working in Japan and North America. The reason to join this group is simply to work with excellent research members, particularly Prof. Juha Merilä. So far, my research has focused on genetics and physiology in aquatic organisms, mainly fish. My current research interest is in understanding the molecular basis of adaptation to specific environments. One of the main goals is to identify genomic regions and genes of evolutionary and ecological interest. For this purpose, I am using sticklebacks as a model with employing modern approaches such as molecular and functional genomics and bioinformatics as well as traditional common garden and crossing experiments.
Identification of genes and genomic regions responsible for adaptation to specific environments
Three-spined stickleback is a good model organism to identify genes and genomic regions of evolutionary and ecological interest because of the availability of both several divergent or local populations and the genome sequence data. So far, one genomic region under directional selection has been identified by our group using hitchhiking mapping. In addition, QTL mapping is proceeded to identify genomic regions determining body shape in European populations.
For this project, I am employing several populations with interesting traits together with modern genomic approaches. The target species of this project are both three-spined and nine-spined sticklebacks.
Phylogenetics and population genetics in nine-spined sticklebacks
European populations of nine-spined sticklebacks show high divergence of body size and shape. This project focuses on their phylogenetic relationship and population genetic structure using mtDNA sequences and microsatellite markers.
In addition to European populations, phylogenetic relationship of this species will be investigated on a global scale.
Development of molecular markers in fish
Molecular markers, such as microsatellites or SNPs, play a significant role in evolutionary and conservation genetics as well as other fields of biology. Even though available molecular markers are increasing in several fish species day by day, the current situation is quite far from covering all fish species, ca. 28,000, which correspond to more than half of all living vertebrate taxa.
This project focuses on the development of universal molecular markers which can be available for several fish species.
Taka's publications can be found from TUHAT database.
Page updated 22.03.2012