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Messenger RNA-typing of environmental RNA (eRNA): A case study on zebrafish tank water with perspectives for the future development of eRNA analysis on aquatic vertebrates

7 Dec 2020

Summary of our research

A research group led by Associate Professor Hiroki Yamanaka of Ryukoku University's Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, in collaboration with Associate Professor Toshifumi Minamoto of Kobe University's Graduate School of Human Development and Environment and Assistant Professor Yasuhito Shimada of Mie University's Graduate School of Medicine, has demonstrated for the first time in the world that messenger RNA (mRNA) can be detected (typed) from fish-derived RNA (environmental RNA) samples floating in environmental water. In collaboration with Hiroki Yamanaka, Associate Professor at Ryukoku University's Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, and his colleagues, we demonstrated for the first time in the world that it is possible to detect messenger RNA (mRNA) from fish-derived RNA (environmental RNA) samples floating in environmental water.

Environmental DNA analysis, which also analyzes DNA contained in the environment, can detect "what kind of organisms are living in the environment,"and has been used in environmental surveys in recent years. Since mRNA expression patterns change depending on the physiological state and growth stage of the organism, if mRNA can be detected in environmental water, we may be able to obtain more detailed biological information "from water" in the future, such as the health status of wildlife and the growth status of important marine species, which cannot be read from DNA.

This is the first reported example of the detection of mRNA in vertebrate-derived environmental RNA. The results of this study were published on December 4 in the online scientific journal Environmental DNA (Wiley), with Kenji Tsuri (second-year master's student at Ryukoku University's Graduate School of Science and Technology ), who was the lead author of the study, as the first author.

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Researcher information

Photo of Yasuhito Shimada

Yasuhito Shimada

Assistant Professor, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine

Specialized area:

Pharmacogenomics, Bioinformatics

Current research field:

Drug discovery using zebrafish models of obesity and cancer.

Photo of Yasuhito Shimada

Hiroki Yamanaka

Associate Professor, Faculty of Advanced Science and Technology, Ryukoku University