Fukushima Group • Plant Evolution Laboratory

Unraveling evolutionary marvels in plants and beyond



Associate Professor


Research Summary

Evolution has led to remarkable innovations in the structures and functions of organisms, sometimes reaching levels that seem almost unbelievable. Our research aims to demystify these evolutionary marvels. We integrate computational and experimental approaches to study a wide range of organisms, particularly focusing on plants. Our primary interest lies in insect-trapping carnivorous plants, which derive nutrients from their captured prey. By studying these unique plants, our research enhances understanding of key concepts in evolutionary biology, including convergent evolution, co-option, drastic morphological changes, phenotypic plasticity, biological interactions, and whole-genome duplication.

Our research integrates computational and experimental methods to investigate the evolution of innovative traits, with a particular focus on carnivorous plants.

Selected Publications

Saul F, Scharmann M, Wakatake T, Rajaraman S, Marques A, Freund M, Bringmann G, Channon L, Becker D, Carroll E, Low YW, Lindqvist C, Gilbert KJ, Renner T, Masuda S, Richter M, Vogg G, Shirasu K, Michael TP, Hedrich R, Albert VA, Fukushima K. Subgenome dominance shapes novel gene evolution in the decaploid pitcher plant Nepenthes gracilis. Nat Plants. 2023 Dec;9(12):2000-2015.

Fukushima K, Pollock DD. Detecting macroevolutionary genotype-phenotype associations using error-corrected rates of protein convergence. Nat Ecol Evol. 2023 Jan;7(1):155-170.

Hedrich R, Fukushima K. On the Origin of Carnivory: Molecular Physiology and Evolution of Plants on an Animal Diet. Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2021 Jun 17;72:133-153.

Fukushima K, Pollock DD. Amalgamated cross-species transcriptomes reveal organ-specific propensity in gene expression evolution. Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 8;11(1):4459.

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