Jump to the main content block

楊淑元(Shu Yuan Yang)

Shu Yuan Yang


Associate Professor

Shu Yuan Yang


Ph.D., Yale University



Office Tel

+886-3-211-8800 ext.3828




Laboratory of Developmental Biology


Germ cell development

Lab & Research Interest

Germ cells (or the germline) are the cells that give rise to sperm and eggs, and they are the foundation to sexual reproduction. This lineage of cells is unique from all other somatic cell types, and once sperm and eggs are formed, they can fertilize with each other to generate embryos and fuel the continuous cycle of life. In my lab, we study the molecular mechanisms that underlie two critical cell fate decisions that germ cells must make :

  1. What makes germ cells distinct from other somatic lineages of cells?
    Germ cell differentiation will produce sperm or eggs, which can give rise to embryos that are totipotent and capable of regenerating all cell types within an organism. We are using molecular approaches to study genes that are already known to be involved in these key developmental decisions and also to perform genetic screens to uncover new genes that regulate this process.

  2. How do germ cells decide their sex?
    Germ cells must either choose a male or female program. This decision not only will determine whether sperm or eggs are produced, but the cell biology of male and female germ cells also exhibit clear differences. Some examples include how germline stem cells are regulated, and differential usage of asymmetric divisions. We have recently identified a new gene Phf7 in Drosophila that directs male germline sex determination, and we are further characterizing its roles in germ cell development. We will also use Phf7 as an entry point to map additional molecules and pathways that coordinate this developmental program.



  1. Li, Y. R., Lai, H. W., Huang, H. H., Chen, H. C., Fugmann, S. D., Yang, S. Y. Trajectory Mapping of the Early Drosophila Germline Reveals Controls of Zygotic Activation and Sex Differentiation. Genome Research, 2021 Apr:gr.271148.120.
  2. Yang. S.Y. An evolutionarily novel motif in the male germline gene Phf7 is essential for establishing the male sexual program in D. melanogaster. Scientific Reports, 2021. Mar; 11(1):6308.
  3. Tsai, C. L., Tsai, C. N., Lee, Y. S., Wang, H. S., Lee L. Y., Lin, C. Y., Yang, S. Y., Chao, A. Genetic analysis of a Taiwanese family identifies a DMRT3-OAS3 interaction that is involved in human sexual differentiation through the regulation of ESR1 expression. Fertility and Sterility, 2020 Jul; 114(1)133-143.
  4. Chang, Y. C., Tu, H., Chen, J. Y., Chang, C. C., Yang, S. Y., Pi, H. W. Reproduction disrupts stem cell homeostasis in testes of aged male Drosophila via an induced microenvironment. PLoS Genetics. 2019 Jul 11; 15(7):e1008062.
  5. Liu, M. C., Liao, W. Y., Buckley K. M., Yang, S. Y., Rast, J. P., Fugmann, S. D. AID/APOBEC-like cytidine deaminases are ancient innate immune mediators in invertebrates. Nat Commun. 2018 May 16; 9(1):1948.
  6. Yang, S. Y.*, Chang, Y.-C., Wan, Y. H., Whitworth, C., Baxter, E. M., Primus, S., Pi, H., Van Doren, M. Control of a novel spermatocyte-promoting factor by the male germline sex determination factor PHF7 of D. melanogaster. Genetics. 2017 Aug; 206(4):1939-1949. (* denotes co-corresponding authorship)
  7. Wang, X. R., Ling, L. B., Huang, H. H., Lin, J. J., Fugmann, S. D., Yang, S. Y. Evidence for parallel evolution of a gene involved in the regulation of spermatogenesis. Proc R Soc B. 2017 May 31; 284(1855): 20170324.
  8. Yang, S. Y., Baxter, E. M., Van Doren, M. Phf7 controls male sex determination in the Drosophila germline. Dev Cell. 2012 May 15;22(5):1041-51.
  9. Murray, S. M.*, Yang, S. Y.*, Van Doren, M. Germ cell sex determination: a collaboration between soma and germline. Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2010 Oct 26. (* denotes equal contribution)
  10. Yang, S. Y., Fugmann, S. D., Gramlich, H. S., and Schatz, D. G. AID-Mediated Sequence Diversification is Transiently Targeted to Newly Integrated DNA. J Biol Chem. 2007 Aug 31;282(35):25308-13.
  11. Yang, S. Y. and Schatz, D. G. Targeting of AID-mediated sequence diversification by cis-acting determinants. Adv Immunol. 2007;94:109-25.
  12. Yang, S. Y., Fugmann, S. D., Schatz, D. G. Control of Gene Conversion and Somatic Hypermutation by Immunoglobulin Gene Promoters and Enhancer Sequences. J Exp Med. 2006 Dec 25;203(13):2919-28.
  13. Hesslein, D.G. T., Yang, S. Y., and Schatz, D. G. Origins of peripheral B cells in IL-7 receptor-deficient mice. Mol Immunol. 2006 Feb;43(4):326-34.