About Oxycomanthus Japonicus RESources
Echinoderms are one of the major phyla in deuterostomes and important for understanding evolution of deuterostomes. Sea urchins, sea stars and sea cucumbers have been studied as representative echinoderms because their high availability; however, these animals lost some characteristics of original echinoderms. Crinoids are considered to be the most basal group of extant echinoderm classes. They possess a well developed aboral nervous system containing a ganglion, which degenerated in the echinoderms except for the crinoids. Also, crinoids are known for their strong regenerative capacities which are dependent on the nervous system. Thus, crinoids are potentially important model organisms for evolutionary developmental biology and regenerative biology. However, very limited information has been accumulated because of difficulty of its collection. Even the spawning season has not been identified in most of the species of crinoids. Among crinoids, the feather star, Oxycomanthus japonicus, inhabits relatively shallow rocky seashore in the tip of Miura peninsula. We have succeeded in cultivating of O. japonicus up to sexually mature adults on a large scale. O. japonicus is now another model organism of echinoderm. For research support, Misaki Marine Biological Station, University of Tokyo, participates in National Bio Resource Project for collection, maintenance and distribution of fixed larvae, juveniles and adults, as well as cDNA libraries and arrayed BAC library of O. japonicus.