12 Sep 2016

Deciphering Fish Evolution

On Saturday, August 27, Jun Inoue, a researcher in the Marine Genomics Unit at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) received the Young Scientist Initiative Award from the Japan Society of Evolutionary Studies for his phylogenetic analysis and the evolutionary study of fish genomes.  The award is given to young members of the society to encourage their future research in the field of evolutionary studies. “I’m grateful that my work has been recognized,” Inoue says. 

Inoue has been tackling some enigmas in the study of fish. He spent his first ten years comparing complete mitochondrial DNA sequences among species to understand how fish evolved. Inoue studied as a graduate student and a postdoctoral researcher at Ocean Research Institute, University of Tokyo.  He joined several study cruises on the research vessel Hakuho maru, collecting eels and closely related species to conduct phylogenetic studies. During the course of his researches at several European and U.S. research institutes, Inoue gained skills and experiences on computer data analysis, which became instrumental in his recent research and allowed him to publish a paper on bony fish genome evolution after he joined OIST in 2013.

“I’ve always had admiration for nature, which has led to my study of biology,” explains Inoue. He has launched his own website to introduce his studies, including unpublished details of his analysis. For this, Inoue won the Award for Education and Enlightenment from the Japan Society of Evolutionary Studies in 2011. 

With genomic data successively released by various research groups across the world, Inoue now compares them to decipher the origin of vertebrates. “I want to publish papers that propagate interesting insights about genomic evolution for everyone, including people who are not researchers,” he said.

By Yoshihito Tamaki


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