Brain functional asymmetry is substantially interesting, especially in human brain, whereas the research is limited for various reasons. Zebrafish, an animal model famous for easy breeding and amenable to advanced manipulation techniques, can significantly contribute to facilitate understanding of brain asymmetry. Through this study, I'd like to make an "innovative discovery" on the brain functional asymmetry.
Habenula, paired dorsal diencephalic nuclei, reveals left-right asymmetry in zebrafish. In addition to the interest of the physiological function of the nuclei, the asymmetrical structure is also fascinating as a biological model of functional asymmetry of brain among whole vertebrates. Although the nuclei has been analyzed for a long time, especially in mammals, molecular mechanism underlying the functions have not been revealed. We are focusing on the molecules expressed asymmetrically in zebrafish habenula nuclei. Taking advantage of their specific expression patterns, I am now working on genetic engineering of zebrarish to manipulate gene expression in the habenula specifically.
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Masakazu Agetsuma



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