HOMELECTURES > Yoko Fujita-Yamaguchi, Ph.D.
Dr. Susumu Ohno – Evolutionary in his time
Yoko Fujita-Yamaguchi
Professor Emeritus, Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope
Yoko Fujita-Yamaguchi
Professor Emeritus, Arthur Riggs Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope

Dr. Ohno came to the US to pursue graduate studies from the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Japan. Soon after Ohno arrived at UCLA, he began to work with Dr. Kinosita, a world-renowned cancer researcher, who was a Visiting Professor at the “new” UCLA School of Medicine, and was already conducting collaborative research with COH. When Kinosita asked Ohno to join him in establishing a cancer research program at COH, Ohno accepted and helped Kinosita start the new research institute. Apparently, it was an exciting challenge for both of them. Ohno moved to COH in 1952, where he spent his entire highly productive career opening up new insights into genetics and evolution (1-4).
The important collaboration with Dr. Ernest Beutler, who came as Chairman of the Department of Medicine in 1959, was highlighted in the article of Time magazine, the January 4, 1963 issue, entitled “Research Makes it Official: Women Are Genetic Mosaics”. Ohno published that the two X chromosomes of mammals were different: one appeared similar to the autosomes; the other was condensed and heterochromatic. Beutler soon determined that random “X chromosome inactivation” causes tissue mosaicism in female mammals.
Ohno’s phenomenal hypothesis “Evolution by Gene Duplication” (Springer-Verlag) was published in October 1970, ahead of DNA sequencing technology and genome sequencing era. Its citation dramatically increased since 2000, 150 per year, now totaling ~3000. Ohno was instrumental to hire Drs. Riggs and Itakura who contributed to diabetes research initiated by Dr. Rachmiel Levine, the Father of Modern Diabetes Research.
COH is steadily growing strong in both diabetes and cancer research. My presentation will also introduce the COH history to date and my recent research activities (5, 6).

1. Wolf U (1998) “Susumu Ohno” Cytogenet Cell Genet. 80:8-11.
2. Beutler E (2002) “Susumo Ohno” Biographical Memoirs V.81: 234-245. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
3. Hayakawa S and Fujita-Yamaguchi Y (2016) “Story of City of Hope: Japan-US scientific collaborations achieved by Riojun Kinoshita and Susumu Ohno” Nikgen to Rekishi-sha, Printed in Japan. ISBN 978-4-89007-205-7
4. Fujita-Yamaguchi Y (2018) “Japanese Scientists at City of Hope: The Birth of a Research Institute and Biotechnology” Norvak S (Ed), ISBN 978-0-692-06350-7 Printed in the USA by Printing & Copy Store
5. Fujita-Yamaguchi Y, Bagramyan K, Yamaguchi Y, Ikeda A, Dohmae N, Hong TB, and Kalkum M. (2018) Mass spectrometric revival of an L-rhamnose- and D-galactose-specific lectin from a lost strain of Streptomyces. J Biol Chem. 293, 368-378
6. Fujita-Yamaguchi Y, Muramatsu H, Tapia A, Bagramyan K, Desai M, Takehana Y, Igarashi M, Yamaguchi Y, and Kalkum M. (2021) Proteolytic Processing, Maturation, and Unique Synteny of the Streptomyces Hemagglutinin SHA. Microbiology Spectrum Vol. 9 Issue 9 e00766-21.

Yoko Fujita-Yamaguchi, Ph.D.
Yoko Fujita-Yamaguchi received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Tokyo University Graduate School in 1977. After five months as a JSPS postdoctoral fellow at the University of Tokyo School of Medicine, she left Tokyo to join the City of Hope Research Institute on August 28, 1977, as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biochemical Genetics. She moved to the Department of Molecular Genetics headed by Dr. Keiichi Itakura in 1980 to become an independent researcher. She had made a significant contribution in studying insulin and IGF actions and became full professor at Beckman Research Institute in 1992. From 2000 to 2014, she was a professor at Tokai University School of Engineering in Japan. In 2014, she returned to Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope as professor emeritus in Diabetes & Metabolism Research Institute. In addition to continuing own research projects, she is actively developing research and educational exchange programs at City of Hope for Japanese students and researchers.