Fascinated by the phenomenon of non-DNA sequence-based inheritance, we study epigenetic hereditary information carriers
that mediate inheritance of acquired traits, and how this type of inheritance affects our health under modern lifestyles 
  • Once deemed heretical, the idea of “inheritance of acquired characteristics” is now gaining evidence from multiple species, including mammals. Studies from our lab and others now promote the idea that paternally acquired phenotypes (e.g. metabolic disorders) from environmental stressors can be encoded in the form of sperm RNAs & RNA modifications as a 'sperm RNA code' (Nat Rev Endocrinol 2019, 2020) which transmit paternal phenotypes to the offspring via shaping early embryo development (Nat Rev Genet 2016; Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 2018)
  • We have systematically discovered tRNA-derived small RNAs (tsRNAs) (Cell Res 2012, Science 2016) & rRNA-derived small RNAs (rsRNAs) (Nat Cell Biol 2018, 2021) in mature sperm; and that sperm tsRNAs/rsRNAs act as epigenetic factor in mediating intergenerational inheritance of acquired traits, which require the action of Dnmt2 (Science 2016Nat Cell Biol 2018)

The Evolving Ideas of Heredity & Hereditary Information Carriers (further read)

tRNA-derived small RNAs (tsRNAs) and rRNA-derived small RNAs (rsRNAs) are newly discovered small non-coding RNAs with diverse functions. We showed that sperm tsRNAs/rsRNAs can act as hereditary factor that contribute to the transmission of epigenetic memory of an acquired metabolic disorder. Read more

Embryo symmetry breaking

Sperm RNA

During mammalian early embryo development, how do different lineages emerge? Are 2-cell blastomeres absolutely equal? If not, can there be even small differences at molecular levels? and if so, how do they arise and can they guide future cell fate? Read more
Aquaporin(s), known as water channel(s), were discovered as inert pores that increase cell membrane permeability to water. But are they simply inert pores and why are they so abundant in tissues with low permeability? Might they do something else rather than simply exist as pores? such as in sperm osmoadaptation. Read more

A third eye on AQPs

Latest Lab News (More news)                            
2021.5-Qi gave a Keynote talk at GECKO Conference 2021 on sperm RNA code and epigenetic inheritance, Junchao gave a talk introducing SPORTS and PANDORA-seq for improved small RNA identification and characterization. 
2021.5-Our new review/opinion article on the origin and evolving functionalities of tsRNAs is now online in Trends in Biochemical Sciences
2021.5-Junchao and Qi gave talks at Keysone eSymposia; and Qi gave a talk at 8th Helmholtz Diabetes Conference as HeIDi nominee.
2021.4-our new paper reporting a RNA-seq method PANDORA-seq, which expands the small RNA world by overcoming RNA modifications, is now online in Nature Cell Biology. Read our Twitter digest and News story
2021.2-3 Qi gave zoom talks at New York University, Caltech, Baylor College of Medicine, and NIH P50 center on the role of sperm RNA code in mammalian epigenetic inheritance.
2020.11-We contribute to the development of a "disease RNA code" using tsRNA/rsRNA/ysRNA for lung cancer diagnosis in Molecular Cancer
2020.8-We obtain a NIH/NIEHS R01 grant to study how the 'sperm RNA code' respond to environmental stressors in epigenetic inheritance
2020.8-Our new paper on Small RNA modifications & Alzheimer's disease is online in Neurobiology of Disease
2020.5-Our Preview paper discussing the interplay between ROS and sperm-mediated epigenetic inheritance is online in Molecular Cell
2020.2-We wrote a News & Views to enhance the concept of human "sperm RNA code" under acute sugar diet in Nat Rev Endocrinol
2020.2- Qi gave a talk at AAAS 2020 on the exciting session of the dynamic RNA Modifications in disease and environmental response.
2019.11- Qi is listed on the Highly Cited Researchers - 2019 by Web of Science, humbly honored by this recognition.
2019.7-8 Qi gave talks at SSR 2019, SDB 2019Epigenetic inheritance Symposium 2019 & CRUK Manchester, great to meet old and new friends


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