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Kihara Prize to Prof. Fumio Tajima

  • H. Nozaki (Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences)
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Prof. Tajima at the Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science of the University has been awarded the Kihara Prize given by the Genetics Society of Japan for his contribution to the “theoretic and statistical studies on evolutionary population genetics”. The Kihara Prize is the highest-level prize among the prizes of the Genetics Society of Japan, which recognizes scientists who make an outstanding contribution to the field of genetics. Prof. Tajima is the 3rd recipient of the prize from the University of Tokyo, following Prof. Yoshiki Hotta (1995 recipient, Department of Physics) and Prof. Eiichi Otsubo (1998 recipient, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences).

Prof. Tajima was born in Fukuoka prefecture. After working at the National Institute of Genetics as an associate professor, he joined the University as a professor in 1995 when the Division of Biodiversity and Evolution was founded in the Department of Biological Sciences.

His main research theme is “maintenance mechanism of DNA polymorphism and evolutionary mechanism of DNA sequence”. Especially the “Tajima's D” is known worldwide as a statistics to test the presence of natural selection from DNA polymorphism data. According to “Genetics” published by the Genetics Society of America, which is the most prestigious journal in the field of Genetics, two articles of Prof. Tajima's have been chosen as “The 50 Most-Frequently Cited Articles” among all the articles appeared in “Genetics”; one of them is the “Tajima's D” published in 1989 and ranked as the 4th most-cited article, and the other one is the 23rd most-cited article, “Evolutionary Relationship of DNA Sequences in Finite Populations” published in 1983. Besides these articles, his research on population genetics and molecular evolution has been highly-evaluated.

Since the establishment of the Division of Biodiversity and Evolution in the Department of Biological Sciences, Prof. Tajima has devoted himself to the education of students and in the field of evolutionary population genetics he has brought promising successors into the world.

I wish Prof. Tajima continued success in his study.