Professor from Institute of Zoology, CAS Visits IHB


Prof. WEI Fuwen (CAS academician) from Institute of Zoology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, visits IHB on May 8, 2018.  

On May 8, Prof. WEI Fuwen (CAS academician) from Institute of Zoology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, paid a visit to Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB) of Chinese Academy of Sciences. During his visit, he gave an oral presentation with the title of “Reflections on the Evolutionary Biology of Non-model Animals”.    

In his presentation, Prof. Wei used vivid examples to show the practical application and great potential of the development of gene editing technology and genomics technology in evolutionary developmental biology.    

He first brought out the concept of evolutionary developmental biology from the macroscopic to microscopic stages of biological evolution. He also introduced two researches conducted by his team on giant pandas in details.    

The first one is the genetic regulation of giant pandas' "pseudo-thumbs". Using red pandas as model organisms, the team found the key genes for panda pseudo-thumb formation in giant and red pandas by resorting to comparative genomics to identify genomic signals of convergence evolution of giant and red pandas.    

The second is gene regulation of giant pandas with “low-energy metabolism”. Prof. Wei analyze the reasons for the low energy metabolism of giant pandas through behavioral adaptation (low activity, slow speed), physiological adaptation (low thyroxine T3, T4), and genetics and genome.    

In closing, Prof. Wei looked forward to the future development of evolutionary developmental biology from the aspects of metabolic development of genetic development and gene regulatory networks.   

Prof. Wei is mainly engaged in research on the conservation biology of endangered animals such as giant pandas and red pandas. He first introduced new techniques such as population genomics, metagenomics, and comparative genomics to the study of giant pandas, expounding the population history, endangered process and evolution potential of giant pandas. He reveals how adaptive evolution of giant pandas in terms of morphology, behavior, physiology, genetics, and intestinal microflora in the process of food conversion and specialization, and he illustrates the habitat fragmentation resulting in isolated small giant panda populations. The mechanism of collapse has promoted the implementation of the national giant panda return and habitat corridor construction projects.