Archive for June, 2008

Evo2008 was over

Last night, Evolution 2008 at the U of Minnesota was over.

This was actually my second time to attend this meeting. Last one was the last year’s meeting at Christchurch in NZ. At the time, I presented a poster.

This time, I registered my talk at the session of “behavior and social evolutoin.”  Last morning, I managed to finish my talk. So, exhausted…

I talked on one of my molecular studies on soldeir-specific proteins, which are related to social communications in a termite. The topic was a bit maniac, so that I was afraid about whether the audience would be interested in my talk.

Fortunately, relatively many people came, and I took two questions on the functions of the focal proteins. My talk was scheduled in the early morning, and after that, I was too tired to concentrate on other talks.

my talk

In the afternoon, with my colleague, took a walk in the campus and went to the university shop to buy some souvenirs.

At night, the banquet was held at a beautiful venue in the campus. There were several hundreds of people having dinner together. We enjoyed a number of parformances there.

Evolution2008 Banquet

Next meeting, Evolution2009, will be held in Idaho. I wish I could attend the meeting again next year.


Evolution 2008

I’m attending the Evolution 2008 annual meeting, which is being held in University of Minnesota.


This is my first time to come to Minneapolice except that I’ve spent several hours at the airport. Here, I can have a nice weather. The campus of this university was really good. Nice buildings and greens. I like the big river running through the campus, too.

Univ Minnesota

Today is the third day of the meeting, and my talk will be scheduled tommorow. I think I need to prepare a bit more…

Genome sizes of termites

One of our papers on the genome sizes of termites and related insects (i.e. cockroaches) was recently accepted and the article is now available on line.

Koshikawa S, Miyazaki S, Cornette R, Matsumoto T, Miura T. 2008. Genome size of termites (Insecta, Dictyoptera, Isoptera) and wood roaches (Insecta, Dictyoptera, Cryptocercidae). Naturwissenschaften: in press. [doi: 10.1007/s00114-008-0395-7]

ABSTRACT – The evolution of genome size has been discussed in relation to the evolution of various biological traits. In the present study, the genome sizes of 22 dictyopteran species were estimated by Feulgen image analysis densitometry and 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI)-based flow cytometry. The haploid genome sizes (C-values) of termites (Isoptera) ranged from 0.58 to 1.90 pg, and those of Cryptocercus wood roaches (Cryptocercidae) were 1.16 to 1.32 pg. Compared to known values of other cockroaches (Blattaria) and mantids (Mantodea), these values are low. A relatively small genome size appears to be a (syn)apomorphy of Isoptera + Cryptocercus, together with their sociality. In some phylogenetic groups, genome size evolution is thought to be influenced by selective pressure on a particular trait, such as cell size or rate of development. The present results raise the possibility that genome size is influenced by selective pressures on traits associated with the evolution of sociality.

Carl Zimmer

I recently found an exciting blog site “The Loom” written by Carl Zimmer, who is an outstanding science writer. His well-known works are “Parasite Rex”, “Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea”, “The Descent of Man”, etc. And he recently published “Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life”.  I only have a Japanese edition of “Evolution”, which gives us very exciting and suggestive stories related to the evolution of life. I would like to read through the series of his works, too.

Below, I put the movie of his lecture entitled “The Evolution of Mind”.  We can learn lots about the human evolution from him.

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Recent jobs

It has been lots of months, probably longer than a year,  since I did my last experiments in the lab. These days, most of my time is spent for writing papers and/or grants, preparing presentations and/or lectures, and many other stuffs related to administration.

Among those things, I prefer writing and reading scientific papers, thinking about biology and science.  Frequently, I tend to lose many hours just for thinking about those things, especially about how to understand evolution.

In addition to the scientific studies in my lab, recently, I am engaged in some works for international collaborations. Those collaborative works are actually exciting but need some plenty of time.

Although the recent productivity of my lab is actually high, I think that I am fond of and good at experiments and observations, so that I wish I would have more time to get in touch with raw materials like insects.

Summer Meetings

This summer, I will attend the two international meetings, both of which will be held in the US. The one is Evolution 2008 in Minnesota, June 20-24, and the other is Pea Aphid Genome Annotation Workshop in Princeton, July 14-15.

After Evolution 2008, I will visit a lab in Wisconsin, where one of my lab member has just moved this spring. There, I will have to give a talk. So, I havee to prepare two talks and a poster, for those two visits to the US.

It’s about the time to start preparing those presentations…