National BioResource Project

marinebio_imageCiona intestinalis

Last update: May 31, 2017 

Database page
Center Home page


Shimoda Marine Research Center, University of Tsukuba


〒415-0025 5-10-1, Shimoda-shi
Tel : +81-558-22-1317
Fax : +81-558-22-0346


Marine invertebrates have contributed to studies of biology, including cell biology, developmental biology, physiology, reproductive biology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Two marine organisms, the urochordate ascidian Ciona intestinalis and the echinoderm feather star Oxycomanthus japonicus, have been selected as objects of the National Bio-Resource Project.

In addition to their unique evolutionary position as invertebrate chordates, ascidians provide a simple experimental system to investigate molecular mechanisms underlying development, reproduction, endocrinology, and physiology. In particular, their tadpole-type larva, which has a notochord and a dorsal neural tube, represents the basic chordate body plan. Ciona intestinalis is the seventh animal of which draft genome was decoded in 2002. The approximately 160-Mb genome is estimated to contain -16,000 protein-coding genes. Together with the genome information, cDNA resources as well as information of expression profiles of genes and proteins have been accumulated. In addition, C. intestinalis is the only marine invertebrate that has the advantages necessary for developmental genetics: the application of transgenic technique and Minos-based mutagenesis and established inland culture system. Mutagenesis is carried out by the Minos transposon. Insertional mutant strains and a variety of marker lines that express tissue-specific reporter genes are available. C. intestinalis is now an indispensable model organism for world-wide research communication in life science. For research support, Kyoto University and Shimoda Marine Research Center, University of Tsukuba, collaborate in NBRP resource project for collection, maintenance and distribution of wild and transgenic lines.


Available Resources

Ciona intestinalis:

Distribution / Deposition

Ciona intestinalis : Distribution

Research Result


Committee list

Related Sites
Tunicate Web Portal


Ciona intestinalis:
INRA, MSNC group, DEPSN, UPR2197, Institut Fessard, CNRS, Gif-sur-Yvette, France

Oxycomanthus japonicus:
The Graduate University for Advanced Studies, Sokendai Hayama, National Institute of Genetics


Panel exhibition at the The 32nd Annual Meeting of the Molecular Biology Society of Japan.