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Masatoshi Nei

Emeritus Professor of Biology and Adjunct Professor at Temple University
Masatoshi Nei


Ph.D., Kyoto University, Kyoto Japan, 1959

M.S., Kyoto University, Kyoto Japan, 1955

B.S., Miyazaki University, Miyazaki Japan, 1953


Postdoctoral Training

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, 1960-61

University of California, Davis



Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, 2013

Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal, Genetics Society of America, 2006

Barbara Bowman Award, Texas Genetics Society, 2003

International Prize for Biology, Japan Society of Promotion of Science, 2002

Member, National Academy of Sciences, USA, 1997

Elected Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1990

Honorary Member, Japan Society of Human Genetics, 1991

Kihara Prize, Genetics Society of Japan, 1990

Honorary Member, Genetics Society of Japan, 1989

Japan Society of Human Genetics Award, 1977


Research Interests

Molecular and genomic evolution

Statistical Methods for Studying Molecular Evolutionary Genetics

Various statistical methods are required to analyze and interpret data on molecular evolution. One of my research projects focuses on developing such methods. We are working on methods for inferring phylogenetic trees from various molecular data and estimating the number of nucleotide or amino acid substitutions between different sequences. We are also studying statistical methods for identifying different multigene families from genome sequence data.

Evolutionary Studies of Genomic Sequence Data

Genomic sequence data provide important information on the evolution of genes and phenotypic characters. Currently, we are studying the molecular basis of evolution of morphological and physiological characters such as olfaction and other sensory systems in vertebrates and flower development in plants. Our approach is to compile genomic gene sequences from various organisms and to study how the DNA sequences, the number of genes involved, and the interaction of component multigene families have changed in the evolutionary process. The genetic systems we are studying now include the sensory systems and immune systems in vertebrates and the flowering system (MADS-box genes) in plants.

Mutation-Driven Evolution

In the past couple of decades we have studied the evolutionary changes of genomic sequences of various organisms to examine the importance of genic and chromosomal mutations in morphological evolution and speciation. This is a long-term project and is ongoing.