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Hello again

Already two years have passed since I posted an entry last time.

I think I might resume this … but I am not sure that I can write many things…

Now I am in Vancouver to attend the annual meeting of Canadian Society of Zoologists (CSZ). Actually, I am on my way back to Japan, though…

At least once a year, I attend international or foreign meetings. I guess that would be good to me.  Here I am attaching the photos I took at the conference venue, UBC – University of British Coloumbia. It was a beautiful campus.

Already September

No updates during August, and already September now!

During this summer time, I’ve been terribly busy with many things including works, trips, private things, and so forth.

These days, I’ve been engaged in the annotation jobs for the pea aphid genome, because I have to give a talk on the conference call today. This will be my first experience to present a talk through phone. So, I’m becoming a bit nervous.

I am not a genomicist nor a bioinformatist, so works on genomic information are bit stressful jobs. However, through those jobs, I learnt lots of things, e.g. how to use internet tools for analyzing sequence data.

After finishing today’s talk, I will still be busy. I have to finish some manuscripts (at least two) within a couple of days. The deadline is now coming.

Anyway, I decide that I will start my own experiments again from this fall…

The Besieged Fortress

I wanted to watch the movie below, but all of the road shows were over around here…


On the day before yesterday, at the campus, I found a brown aphid that did not move at all. That was so-called a “mommy” of aphid. It is a dead aphid that is parasitized and killed by a parasitoid wasp. At the time when an aphid becomes a mommy, the inside wasp has pupated. The host species of this picture is Acyrthosiphon pisum, the most famous aphid species.

This picture shows a mommy, from which the parasite has already emerged. The parasite species may be Aphidus sp. (maybe…)


I’m having a photo of the moment when the wasp just lay an egg into an aphid. This photo was taken last year in UK, so that the host and parasite species should be different from above.


After the Evolution meeting, I dropped in a laboratory in Wisconsin, where my colleague just moved this spring.

While Minneapolis in Minnesota was also nice place, Wisconsin-Madison is also a very beautiful place. The university campus as well as residential areas located near Lake Mendota.

We walked along the lake shore, where there are walk ways. The place was very beautiful with many trees and animals. In returen, we had lots of mosquitos there. They seem pretty large in comparison with mosquitos we often see in Japan. Furthermore, we met some gaggles of Canadian geese there too. Those included many youngs, and adults protected them by menacing us with honking.

 Because the university campus is just on the shore, sports like yachting or wind surfing are popular among students. Probably there are a number of clubs or schools for those lake leisures.

I just stayed there for only two nights, but felt the nice atmosphere of the town. I want to visit this town again in the near future.

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…

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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aphid nymphs

Several days ago, a microscope company performed demonstration of a brand-new high quality degital microscope. At the time, one of our study material, aphids, were observed with it. I liked the “full focus” or “quick depth composition” function, that enabled us to take very nice insect photos with deep focus. That’s really fantastic!

By the way, these first-instar aphid nymphs look very cute with numerous fine hairs. Normally we can’t see those hairs with normal binocular microscopes. For our study on polyphenism, it is important to observe study materials very carefully, to find phenotypic differences even if they are trivial.

Sphinx – an RNA gene that changes male fly behavior

Recently I’ve had many chances to hear about behavior-related genes in a fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster

I’ve just heard about a scientific news on a behavior gene, called “sphinx”.

Male-Male Courtship Pattern Shaped By Emergence Of A New Gene In Fruit Flies

This gene, that is expressed in male reproductive glands, was identified in 2002 as a non-protein-coding gene. The loss-of-function male flies for this gene are said to be attracted by other males, not by females.

In a brand-new paper published in May-27 issue of PNAS, the authors are analyzing the function of the gene, the news said.

I am very much interested in how this non-coding RNA changes the mating behavior. I will read the article tomorrow.

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