Institute of Genetics,

National Yang Ming University


Hsiao-Pei Yang, Assistant Professor

楊曉珮 助理教授

Telephone: (02) 2826-7039

Fax: (02) 2826-4930

e-mail: hpyang@ym.edu.tw


Education and Experience

1994

B.S.

Zoology, NTU

1996

M.S.

Marine Biology, NTU

2001

Ph.D.

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell Univ., USA

2001.8~2003.7

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Evolution & Ecology, Univ. California-Davis, USA

2003.8~ present

Asso.Prof.

Inst. Genetics, National Yang-Ming University

Research Interests

I am interested in how biodiversity come to exist in the nature. To answer this question, it is important to understand how different mechanisms determine the nature and distribution of genetic variation within and between natural populations and closely related species, and how this variation leads to adaptation. My approaches to these questions are both empirical and theoretical using available tools and techniques in quantitative genetics, molecular genetics, and population genetics.

Mutation is the ultimate source of genetic variation. The balance between mutation and natural selection can theoretically explain many interesting phenomena, such as the evolution of sex, breeding systems, and longevity. I have been studying the mutational impact on fitness using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system to quantify genetic load caused by recurring mutations and to evaluate the role of recombination in eliminating deleterious mutations. Our results indicate that there is significant amount of de novo mutations occurring in each generation under relaxation of selection, and new mutations have a significant impact on fitness-related traits. We also found that majority of spontaneous mutation in D. melanogaster consist of insertions and deletions. This mutational spectrum of Drosophila is very different from that of human, which consists mostly of subsitutional mutations.

To understand the long-term evolutionary history of biological systems, theoretical approaches by model construction and simulation are necessary. I am interested in studying the evolution of reproduction modes under the influence of deleterious mutation. By simulating the population dynamics under mutation-selection balance, I have discovered an interesting phenomenon where cycling dynamics of a population can arise due to partial selfing and recessivity of deleterious mutations.

Recently, my research is focus on evolution of transposable elements (TEs) and other repeating elements in the Drosophila genome. The distribution and sequence variation of these elements provide excellent materials for the studies of mutational spectrum, genome instability and genome size evolution. Using phylogenetic analyses and population genetics, students in my lab are developing methods to perform genome-wide screens for functionally important TEs, which might be the product of coevolution between TEs and their host genome.


Research specialities:

Evolutionary Genetics

Population Genetics

Comparative genomics


Some recent publications

Yang, H. P. and S. V. Nuzhdin, 2003 Fitness costs of Doc expression are insufficient to stabilize its copy number in Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular Biology and Evolution 20:800-804.

Yang, H. P., and A. S. Kondrashov, 2003 Cyclic dynamics under selection against deleterious mutation in haploid and diploid populations with facultative selfing. Genetical Research 81:1-6.

Yang, H. P., A. Y. Tanikawa, W. A. Van Voorhies, J. C. Silva, and A. S. Kondrashov, 2001  Whole-genome effects of EMS-induced mutation on nine quantitative traits in outbred Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 157: 1257-1265.

Yang, H. P., A. Y. Tanikawa and A. S. Kondrashov, 2001 Molecular nature of eleven spontaneous de novo mutations in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 157: 1285-1292.

Chen, C. A., D. J. Miller, N. W. V. Wei, C. F. Dai, H. P.Yang, 2000 The ETS/IGS region in a lower animal, the seawhip, Junceella fragilis (Cnidaria: Anthozoa: Octocorallia): Compactness, low variation and apparent conservation of a Pre-rRNA processing signal with fungi. Zoological Studies 39: 138-143.

Smith, C., C. A. Chen, H. P. Yang, 1997 A PCR-based method for assaying molecular variation in corals based on RFLP analysis of the ribosomal intergenic spacer region. Molecular Ecology 6: 683-685.