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Shixia Xu Associate Professor

Research Interests: 
Genetic basis of adaptive evolution in marine mammals (special for cetaceans)

Educational Background

PhD, Zoology, Nanjing Normal University (2007)

MA, Zoology, Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (2004)

BA, Biology Education, Ludong University (2001)

Research Projects

  • National Key Programme of Research and Development, Ministry of Science and Technology (Grant no. 2016YFC0503200) sub-project (2016.07-2020.12)
  • National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31570379) ‘Molecular mechanism of adaptation to hypoxia in cetaceans’ (2016.01-2019.12)
  • Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province of China (grant no. BK20141449) ‘Genetic basis of cetacean brain size enlargement: based on adaptive evolution analysis of four MCPH genes’ (2014.07-2017.06)
  • National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31000953) ‘Molecular mechanism of cetacean osmoregulation: based on the evolutionary analysis of Na+, K+, ATPase and AQPs’ (2011.01-2013.12)

Journal Articles

  • Tian R, Wang Z, Niu X, Zhou K, Xu S*, Yang G*. Evolutionary genetics of hypoxia tolerance in cetaceans during diving. Genome Biology and Evolution, 2016, 24(8): 827-839
  • Xu S, Yang Y, Zhou X, Xu J, Zhou K, Yang G*. Adaptive evolution of the osmoregulation-related genes in cetaceans during secondary aquatic adaptation. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2013, 13:189
  • Zhou X#, Sun F#, Xu S#, Fan G, Zhu K, et al. Baiji genomes reveal low genetic variability and new insights into secondary aquatic adaptations. Nature Communications, 2013, 4: 2708
  • Xu S, Chen Y, Cheng Y, Yang D, Zhou X, Xu J, Zhou K, Yang G*. Positive selection at ASPM gene coincides with brain size enlargements in cetaceans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2012, 279: 4433-4440
  • Xu S, Ju J, Zhou X, Wang L, Zhou K, Yang G* Considerable MHC diversity suggests that the functional extinction of Baiji is not related to population genetic collapse. PLoS ONE, 2012, 7(1): e30423
  • Shen T#, Xu S#, Wang X, Yu W, Zhou K, Yang G*Adaptive evolution and functional constraint at TLR4 during the secondary aquatic adaptation and diversification of cetaceans. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2012, 12: 39
  • Xu S, Ren W, Zhou X, Zhou K, Yang G* Sequence polymorphism and geographical variation at a positively selected MHC-DRB gene in the finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides): implication for recent differentiation of the Yangtze finless porpoise? Journal of Molecular Evolution, 2010, 71: 6-22
  • Xu S, Chen B, Zhou K, Yang G*. High similarity at three MHC loci between baiji and finless porpoise: trans-species or convergent evolution? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 2008, 47: 36-44. 


Xu S, Ren W, Zhou K, Yang G* High level of MHC polymorphism in the baiji and finless porpoise, with special reference to possible convergent adaptation to the freshwater Yangtze River. In: Biology, Evolution, and Conservation of River Dolphins With in South America and Asia: Unknown Dolphins In Danger (Shostell J, Ruiz M, eds), NOVA Science Publishers, Inc., USA. pp. 2010, 395-417.

Honors and Awards

The 6th Science & Technology Award for Young Talents (China Zoological Society)

Distinguished PhD dissertation of Jiangsu Province (2008)

Academic Title

Under-Secretary-General for Jiangsu Zoological Society


Phone:+86-025-85891163 &