Takahiro FUKUI Assistant Professor (Research fellowship-PD)

Takahiro FUKUI

Takahiro FUKUI
Assistant Professor (Research fellowship-PD)

  • Institute for Advanced Academic Research / Graduate School of Science

  • Keywords

    Sex-determination, Lepidoptera, W chromosome, small RNA

  • Professional Memberships

    The Japanese Society of Sericultural Science, The Japanese Society of Applied Entomology & Zoology

Research Theme

Diverse mechanisms of sex-determination in Lepidoptera


Sex is ubiquitous across the tree of life. However, sex-determination factors, which genetically determine sex, are so diverse that they sometimes differ even among closely related species. Additionally, the diversity of the evolutionary pathways of sex-determination factors has been elucidated so far. To discover a novel story of the evolution of sex-determination factors, I will identify the diverse sex-determination factors and elucidate their evolutionary history using lepidopteran insects as my research material. Lepidopteran insects are heterogametic in females. The female-specific W chromosome is suggested to be derived from the parasitic B chromosome in Lepidoptera, where both the W and B chromosomes are rich in repeat sequences. In Bombyx mori, a model species in Lepidoptera, the repeat sequences of the W chromosome produce a single female-specific small RNA, which determines the female fate.

In this study, I will investigate whether small RNA-dependent sex-determination factors similar to those in B. mori are conserved in other lepidopteran species. Thus, I evaluate a hypothesis that the evolutionary event of obtaining the W chromosome from the B chromosome in Lepidoptera leads to the diversification of sex-determination factors in Lepidoptera.