Drosophila Light Preference Neurons Found
Not long ago, LIU Li and GONG Zhefeng at Chinese Academy of Sciences Institute of Biophysics reported their findings in the recent issue of the journal Nature, believing that two pairs of neurons in the central brain control drosophila's innate light preference.
Researchers put some 1,000 defected fruit fly under a process from microscope based hybrid, to reproduction, and further to screening, and sorted out the species fearing no light. They found that the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster prefers darkness in the feeding larval stage, but prefers light in adulthood. The deactivation of NP394 neurons may simply turn the fruit fly from being photophobic to photophilic.
Researchers also proved the switch functionality of NP394 neurons in controlling drosophila's innate light preference: when inhibited, the neurons would make the fruit fly in the feeding larval stage photophilic. On the contrary, when activated, the neurons would tell the same fruit fly to be photophobic. Researchers tested the ties between PDF neurons and NP394 neurons using phased green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression. They also for the first time applied calcium imaging techniques to validate the ties between the two pairs of neurons
China Resequenced 31 Soybean Genomes
Chinese researchers, from Chinese University of Hong Kong, Beijing Genomics Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, and Chinese Academy of Sciences, reported in the November 14, 2010 online issue of Nature Genetics their work on resequencing of 31 soybean genome that reveals genetic diversity and evolutionary selection modes.
Researchers made a genome-wide re-sequencing of 17 wild and 14 cultivated soybean plants. They found more than 630 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the plants, using SOAP v2.18, and established a high-density molecular marker map. Meanwhile, they assembled the wild and cultivated soybean plants through SOAPdenovo, in which they sorted out more than 180,000 PAVs, and obtained the genes acquired and lost in the breeding process.
Beijing Genomics Institute researchers believe that unlike other crops, soybean genome shows more genetic linkage disequilibrium and a higher proportion of single-nucleotide non-synonymous/synonymous substitution ratio. The finding shows that the molecular marker breeding technique enjoys more advantage, compared with the genetic map-based cloning technique.
Petroleum Substitutes from Plants
LI Heng and SUN Peng, two female doctoral students at Nanjing University of Technology, recently announced that they have found petroleum substitutes in straw, dried sweet potato, and sugar cane. LI and SUN developed through countless experiments an approach to separate sorbitol and lactic acid from straw, dried sweet potato, and sugar cane, two chemicals widely employed in producing dehydrated sorbitol and acrylic acid. The effort has not only led them to finding the inexpensive and effective base materials, but also helped them work out innovative carbon supported nickel oxide catalysts and NaY zeolite catalysts with and without potassium salt modifications, which improves the selectivity of two biological processes, and raises the conversion ratio. The findings have been published in CARBON and Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, respectively.
New Hi-Tech Fair Opened
A new round of China International Hi-Tech Fair opened on November 16, 2010 in Shenzhen. Chinese Vice-Premier HUI Liangyu declared the opening of the Fair. Under the theme of "the transformation led by science and technology, and the development driven by innovation", the Fair is made up of 9 pavilions, where Chinese provinces/municipalities/autonomous regions, government agencies, 26 well-known mainland universities, and delegations from a range of other countries or regions, including Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, the United States, Russia, France, Canada, Australia among others displayed their latest findings.
Co-sponsored by the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, National Development and Reform Commission, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Agriculture, State Intellectual Property Office, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Shenzhen Municipal Government, the fair was teemed with a range of related activities, including the ministerial forum, capital market forum, entrepreneurs summit, and new energy/low carbon development summit.
China Won Fastest Supercomputer
TOP50 announced on November 14, 2010 that Tianhe-1A, developed by the Chinese National University of Defense Technology and stationed at the National Supercomputer Center in Tianjin, was the fastest supercomputer on the TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers, for an achieved performance level at 2.57 petaflop/s.
TOP500, founded in 1993, is a list showing the world's most powerful supercomputers. It publicizes the TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers twice a year based on the Linpack benchmark test.
China's Petaflop System into Daily Operation
It is reported November 18, 2010 from DAWNING that a Chinese petaflop system named Nebulae was put into operation at the National Supercomputer Center in Shenzhen. The supercomputer, ranking third place on the 36th TOP500 list of the world's most powerful supercomputers publicized on November 17, 2010, has claimed in June 1, 2010 a peak speed at 3 petaflop/s, or 1.271 petaflop/s against the Linpack benchmark.
China's First Light Amphibious Aircraft
Seagull 300 model, a multi-purpose amphibious light aircraft independently designed and manufactured by China Aviation Industry Corporation, made its first successful maiden flight on November 10, 2010 in Shijiazhuang. With a maximum takeoff weight of 1,680 kg, a total length of 8.9 meters, a wingspan at 12.46 meters, and a cruising speed at 231 km / h, China's first amphibious light aircraft is able to reach a height up to 6,000m, and a cruising range up to 1,300 km. When taking off or landing on the water surface, the aircraft can brave a wave height up to 0.4m.
The aircraft body is designed with a unique hull, floats, and retractable landing gear, allowing it to take off or land on a simple runway, or on the river, lake or other water bodies. It is also able to lift or land from a highland site with an elevation under 3,500m. Seagull 300 model is a small passenger aircraft for 4 to 6 people, with a comprehensive performance up to the advanced level of similar foreign made models, desirable for business flights, tourism, entertainment, coastal patrol, search, rescue, environmental monitoring, forest patrol among others.
New Edition S&T Dictionary
The third edition of Modern Scientific and Technological Knowledge Dictionary was published in October by China Science and Technology Press. The new edition is made up of three volumes in 6.5 million words. The expanded Dictionary has raised the number of entries to some 200,000 from 10,924 in the 2nd edition, with 24 appendixes, and more than 5,000 newly added color illustrations.
The new edition reported the basic knowledge and the latest findings derived from 38 primary disciplines. The amendments and additions made to the 2008 edition found main expression in the following four areas: (1) some incorrect or outdated entries have been removed; (2) some weak areas have been strengthened, with more entries into the areas of agriculture, medicine, food, civil engineering, water resources, and computer sciences. Some new terminologies and knowledge were added; (3) illustrations or charts have been added to some entries, making them more understandable; and (4) a range of new tools were added in the Appendixes, including who's who of renowned Chinese and foreign scientists, global geological time scale, Chinese seismological intensity grading system among others.