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Insect Ecology

Ecological and genetic study on insects

Insect Ecology unit URL


Kazuo_TAKAHASHIAssoc. Prof. Dr. Kazuo TAKAHASHI
E-mail: kazu_tak@(@okayama-u.ac.jp)
Field of research: Ecological entomology, evolutionary biology, genetics, and morphometrics

Research Subjects

I. Ecological and genetic studies on fruit flies

Fruit flies are one of the model organisms for the study of genetic bases of ecological traits and large collections of mutant strains as well as multiple genome information are publicly available. In this research unit, we work on genetic regulation of various behavioral, life historical, and morphological traits such as locomotor and flight activities, longevity, developmental time, sexual dimorphism, wing and genital morphology of fruit flies.

II. Search for evolutionary capacitors and its genetic buffering effect on quantitative traits

Genetic variation is essential for every organism to adapt to a changing environment. The mechanism of how genetic variation is maintained in natural populations has been studied for a long time, and recently, the role of “capacitors” have attracted a lot of attention. Because they enhance the evolvability of organisms and have the potential to promote adaptation, they are also called “evolutionary capacitors.” Although knowledge of the candidate evolutionary capacitors is limited at the moment, theoretical studies predict that evolutionary capacitance is a general feature of gene regulatory networks. To understand the nature of the rapid adaptation and evolution promoted by evolutionary capacitors, a search for more evolutionary capacitors and the investigation of how they work are necessary. In this research unit, we search for candidate genes and genomic regions for evolutionary capacitors and examine their function.

III. Host-parasitoid interaction

Parasitoids are a group of insects, consisting about 10% of all the living organisms on earth in terms of the species number. Because parasitoids are natural enemies of many pest insects and can kill them, they are regarded as useful biological control agents. In this research unit, we use fruit flies and their parasitoid wasps as a model system for a host-parasitoid coevolution and work on the genetic bases of parasitoid resistance of flies and behavior traits of parasitoid wasps.


  • Masahiro Tsujino and Kazuo H. Takahashi (2014) Lack of response to artificial selection on developmental stability of partial wing shape components in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetica, 142: 177-184.
  • Kazuo H. Takahashi, Kouhei Teramura, Shinya Muraoka, Yasukazu Okada, Takahisa Miyatake (2013) Genetic correlation between the pre-adult developmental period and locomotor activity rhythm in Drosophila melanogaster, Heredity, 110: 321-320.
  • Kazuo H. Takahashi (2013) Multiple capacitors for natural genetic Variation in Drosophila melanogaster, Molecular Ecology, 22:
  • 1356-1365.
  • Kazuo H. Takahashi, Yasukazu Okada, Kouhei Teramura (2012) Deficiency screening for genomic regions with effects on environmental sensitivity of the sensory bristles of Drosophila melanogaster.
  • Evolution, 66, 2878-2890.
  • Masahiro Tsujino and Kazuo H. Takahashi (2012) Natural genetic variation in fluctuating asymmetry of wing shape in Drosophila melanogaster, Ecological Research, 27: 133-143.
  • Kazuo H. Takahashi, Yasukazu Okada, Kouhei Teramura and Masahiro Tsujino (2011) Deficiency mapping of the genomic regions associated with effects on developmental stability in Drosophila melanogaster, Evolution, 65: 3565-3577.
  • Kazuo H. Takahashi, Yasukazu Okada and Kouhei Teramura (2011) Genome-wide deficiency screen for the genomic regions responsible for heat resistance in Drosophila melanogaster, BMC Genetics, 12:57.
  • Kazuo H. Takahashi, Yasukazu Okada, and Kouhei Teramura (2011) Genome-wide deficiency mapping of the regions responsible for temporal canalization of the developmental processes of Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Heredity, 102: 448-457.
  • Kazuo H. Takahashi, Phillip J. Daborn, Ary A. Hoffmann, and Toshiyuki Takano-Shimizu (2011) Environmental stress-dependent effects of deletions encompassing Hsp70Ba on canalization and quantitative trait asymmetry in Drosophila melanogaster, PLoS ONE, 6: e17295.