Yoshinori Tomoyasu

Yoshinori Tomoyasu

Associate Professor

358 Pearson Hall
Tomoyasu Lab

Biographical Information

My research interests revolve around understanding the molecular basis underlying morphological evolution. We use insect wings as a model, and investigate the emergence and divergence of this evolutionary critical structure, that has made insects one of the most successful group of animals on this planet.

We also study the systemic aspect of RNA interference (RNAi) in insects. RNAi, in which dsRNA suppresses the translation of homologous mRNA, is a highly conserved cellular defense mechanism. In some organisms, the RNAi response can be transmitted systemically from cell to cell, a phenomenon termed ‘systemic RNAi’. Understanding systemic RNAi will be crucial for the application of RNAi to many other insects, which will open the possibility of functional analysis in various insects and also will provide us with the route to establish RNAi-based pest management strategies.

Courses Taught

  • BIO 116: Biological Concepts: Structure, Function, Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • BIO 444/544W: Molecular Biology
  • BIO 464/564W: Laboratory in Cell and Molecular Biology
  • BIO 491: Seminar in Biology
  • BIO 710: Graduate Seminars on various topics

Recent Publications

(See Google scholar for the complete list, *corresponding author, ** student authors)
  • Clark-Hachtel C.M.**, Moe M.R.**, Tomoyasu Y.* Detailed analysis of the prothoracic tissues transforming into wings in the Cephalothorax mutants of the Tribolium beetle. Arthropod Struct Dev. 47(4) 352-361 (2018)
  • Tomoyasu Y*., Evo–Devo: The Double Identity of Insect Wings. Current Biology 28 (2), R75-R77 (2018)
  • Lai, YT**, Deem, K.D**., Borras-Castells, F., Sambrani, N., Rudolf, H., Suryamohan, K., El-Sherif, E., Halfon, M.S., McKay, D.J., Tomoyasu, Y.* Enhancer identification and activity evaluation in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Development dev.160663 (2018)
  • Linz, D.M.**, Tomoyasu, Y*. Dual evolutionary origin of insect wings supported by an investigation of the abdominal wing serial homologs in Tribolium. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 115(4):E658-E667 (2018)
  • Tomoyasu, Y.*, Ohde, T., Clark-Hachtel C.M**. What serial homologs can tell us about the origin of insect wings. F1000Research. 6: 268 (2017)
  • Tomoyasu Y*., and Fujiwara H.*. Editorial Overview: Development and regulation: The diverse traits that have facilitated the successful radiation of insects. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 19 (2017)
  • Tomoyasu, Y.* Ulrabithorax and the evolution of insect forewing/hindwing differentiation. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 19, 8-15 (2017)
  • Linz, D.M.**, Hu, A.W.**, Sitvarin M.I, Tomoyasu, Y.* Functional value of elytra under various stresses in the red flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum. Scientific Reports. 6, Article number: 34813 (2016)
  • Zattara E.E., Busey H.A., Linz D.M., Tomoyasu Y., Moczek A.P. Neofunctionalization of embryonic head patterning genes facilitates the positioning of novel traits on the dorsal head of adult beetles. Proc Biol Sci. 283(1834) (2016)
  • Clark-Hachtel C.M.**, Tomoyasu Y. * Exploring the origin of insect wings from an evo-devo perspective. Current Opinion in Insect Science. 13, 77-85 (2016)
  • Ravisankar, P.**, Lai, Y.**, Sambrani, N., Tomoyasu, Y. * Comparative developmental analysis of Drosophila and Tribolium reveals conserved and diverged roles of abrupt in insect wing evolution. Developmental Biology. 409 (2), 518-529 (2016)
  • Linz, D.M.**, Tomoyasu, Y.* RNAi screening of developmental toolkit genes: A search for novel wing genes in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum. Development Genes and Evolution. 225 (1), 11-22 (2015)