−Genetic basis for biological characteristics of humans as organisms adapted to environmental changes −
Human beings have enjoyed an unprecedented prosperity thanks to scientific and technological advances, but now face various problems. One of the causes of these problems is the lack of substantial understanding among human beings that “humans” exist as organisms. To recognize that human exist as an organism, it is necessary to understand how “humans” have evolved in nature. Phenotypic evolution, such as morphological or physiological evolution, has occurred in individuals to adapt to new environments. In short, our current existence as “humans” is a result of environmental adaptations; in that sense, human genomes have accumulated information related to human-specific environmental adaptation. The research aims of our research group are to clarify this environmental adaptation at the genomic level and understand “what makes us humans”. The ongoing research projects in our group include:
1） Evolution and origins of genes related to responses to environmental changes (e.g.immune and sensory receptor genes, disease related genes),
2） Differences in patterns and amount of gene expression in tissues and organs between closely related species, especially those in skin between non-human primates and humans,
3）Evolution of genes responsible for human mental activity and
4）Effects of human-specific pseudogenes (nonfunctional genes) on human evolution.