Researcher Information


Associate Professor

Identifying adaptive changes in the brain

Department of Biological Sciences, Behavioral Neurobiology


Neural mechanisms underlying selection: mechanisms governing righty and lefty

FieldNeuroethology, Behavioral ecology, Neuroecology, Neuroscience, Genomics
KeywordLaterality, Intraspecific polymorphism, Learning, Neural circuits, Evolution, Gene expression

Introduction of Research

Righty and lefty, as typified by the dominant hand-use in humans, are actually phenomena found in various animals. It is believed that having a dominant hand maximizes locomotor ability and provides an advantage for survival. However, the differences in the nervous systems between righty and lefty, the developmental process of dominance, what genes and molecules regulate dominance, and when it was established evolutionarily still remain essential mysteries. Using African scale-eating cichlids, which are known for their pronounced handedness, I am investigating the mechanisms governing laterality from multiple approaches, including neuroscience, genomics, behavior, ecology, and evolution.

Left handed in my daughter. We cannot draw accurately and quickly without using the dominant hand.
Scale-eating cichlid in Lake Tanganyika
Lefty fish can successfully attack only the left side of their prey and have their mouths bent rightward, and vice versa for righty fish.
The scale-eating fish brain (top), this brain cleared and labeled with a neural tracer, reticulospinal neurons in the hindbrain (bottom).

Representative Achievements

Developmental process of a pronounced laterality in the scale-eating cichlid fish Perissodus microlepis in Lake Tanganyika.
Takeuchi Y. Zool. Sci. 40(2):160-167 (2023).
Experience-dependent learning of behavioral laterality in the scale-eating cichlid Perissodus microlepis occurs during the early developmental stage.
Takeuchi Y., Higuchi Y., Ikeya K., Tagami M., Oda Y. Sci. Rep. 12: 723. (2022)
Specialized movement and laterality of fin-biting behaviour in Genyochromis mento in Lake Malawi.
Takeuchi Y., Hata H., Maruyama A., Yamada T., Nishikaw T., Fukui M., Zatha R., Rusuwa B., Oda Y. J. Exp. Biol. 222: jeb191676. (2019)
Lateralized expression of left-right axis formation genes is shared by adult brains of lefty and righty scale-eating cichlids.
Takeuchi Y., Ishikawa A., Oda Y., Kitano J. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. D. 28: 99-106. (2018)
Lateralized scale-eating behaviour of cichlid is acquired by learning to use the naturally stronger side.
Takeuchi Y., Oda Y. Sci. Rep. 7: 8984. (2017)

Related industries

Life science, Medicine
Academic degreePh.D.
Self Introduction

I am from Ehime Prefecture. I conduct research in a wide range of sites, from fieldwork to laboratories. My hobbies are visiting aquariums and watching baseball games.

Academic background2002 B. S., Faculty of Science, Yokohama City University
2004 M. S., Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University
2008 Ph.D., Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University
2010 Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (SPD: Biology)
2013 Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Toyama
2023- Associate Professor, Faculty of Science, Hokkaido University
Affiliated academic societyZoological Society of Japan, The Ecological Society of Japan, The Japan Neuroscience Society, Japan Ethological Society
Room addressScience Bulding #5, 5-913