Masato Yoshizawa

Masato Yoshizawa

Assistant Professor

I am interested in the evolutionary mechanism that generate novel "adaptive" function in animals.



EDM 414


(808) 956-6682


(808) 956-4745

Academic Degrees

Ph.D., Neurobiology

Research Interests

I am interested in the evolutionary mechanism that generate novel "adaptive" function in animals. I am currently using a Mexican tetra, cavefish, as a model sytem to resolve the relationship among genome, developmental changes, morphological/physiological shifts, behavioral adaptation and ecology. Through a combination of the Next-Gen sequencing, high-speed microscopy, live calcium imaging, genome editing, as well as well-established technologies including neural tracing, hybrid analyses (genetics) and behavioral assays, my team will resolve the dynamics how animals acquire novel functions.

Selected Publications

McGaugh, S.E., Gross, J.B., Aken, B., Blin, M., Borowsky, R., Chalopin, D., Hinaux, H., Jeffery, W.R., Keene, A., Ma, L., Minx, P., Murphy, D., O’Quin, K.E., Rétaux, S., Rohner, N., Searle, S.M.J., Stahl, B.A., Tabin, C., Volff, J.-N., Yoshizawa, M., Warren, W.C. (2014) The cavefish genome reveals candidate genes for eye loss. Nat. Commun.  5:5307.

Yoshizawa, M., Jeffery, W.R., van Netten, S.M., and McHenry, M.J. (2014). The sensitivity of lateral line receptors and their role in the behavior of Mexican blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus). J. Exp. Biol. 217: 886-895.

Rohner, N., Jarosz, D.F., Kowalko, J., Yoshizawa, M., Jeffery, W.R., Borowsky, R.L., Lindquist, S., and Tabin, C.J. (2013). Cryptic variation in morphological evolution: HSP90 as a capacitor for the loss of eyes in cavefish.  Science 342: 1372-1375 (Featured in News & Analysis section of Science: Pennisi, E. (2013). Cavefish study supports controversial evolutionary mechanism. Science 342: 1304.)

Kowalko, J.E., Rohner, N., Linden, T.A., Rompani, S.B., Warren, W.C., Borowsky, R., Tabin, C.J., Jeffery, W.R., Yoshizawa, M. (2013b). Convergence in feeding posture occurs through different genetic loci in independently evolved cave populations of Astyanax mexicanus. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110: 16933-16938.

Yoshizawa, M.*, O’Quin, K. E., Jeffery, W. R. (2013a). QTL clustering as a mechanism for rapid multi-trait evolution. Commun. Integr. Biol. 6: e24548 (comment on a conflict between Fisher’s cost of complexity and abundant QTL clustering).

Yoshizawa, M.*, Yamamoto, Y., O’Quin, K. E., Jeffery, W. R. (2012b). Evolution of an adaptive behavior and its sensory receptors facilitates eye regression in blind cavefish. BMC Biol. 10: 108. [Commented in Gunter, H., Meyer, A. (2013) Trade-offs in cavefish sensory capacity. BMC Biol. 11:5].

Yoshizawa, M.*, Ashida, G., Jeffery, W. R. (2012a). Parental genetic effects in a cavefish adaptive behavior explain disparity between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Evolution 66: 2975–2982.

Yoshizawa, M.*, Jeffery, W. R. (2011). Evolutionary tuning of an adaptive behavior requires enhancement of the neuromast sensory system. Commun. Integr. Biol. 4: 89-91.

Yoshizawa, M.*, Gorički, Š., Soares, D., Jeffery, W. R. (2010) Evolution of a behavioral shift mediated by superficial neuromasts helps cavefish find food in darkness.  Curr. Biol. 20: 1631-1636. 

Yoshizawa, M., Kawauchi, T., Sone, M., Terao, M., Nabeshima, Y. –i. and Hoshino, M. (2005). Involvement of a Rac activator, P-Rex1, in neurotrophin-derived signaling and neuronal migration.  J. Neurosci. 25: 4406-4419.