The history of the Red List of Japanese vascular plants is briefly reviewed for editing and research. Especially on the results of recent monitoring, the present status of information and conservation activities on the endangered plants in Japan is discussed and the dynamics of the Japanese flora are taken up, in relation to basic research on plant biodiversity on the Japanese Archipelago. The figures of endangered plants are not very variable during the past quarter of a century, but we can surmise that the conservation of threatened species in Japan has been promoted to some extent. Based on the results of such a study, proposals are made to contribute to the sustainable use of plant biodiversity on the Japanese Archipelago under a global conspectus.
In high speed rotating machines such as turbines and generators, vibrations of a rotating shaft often hinder the smooth operation of the machine or even cause failure. Oil whip is one of such vibrations due to oil film action of journal bearing. Its mechanism and preventive method is explained and proposed in this paper. Further theoretical and experimental analyses are made for considering heat generation and temperature rise in hydrodynamic lubrication. The usefulness of the lubrication theory based on the k–ε model is also shown for bearings with high eccentricity ratios. In the latter half of this paper, water lubrication, nitrogen gas lubrication and tribo-coated indium lubrication are shown as new promising methods, and their mechanisms are discussed and the importance of tribo-layer is explained. Some mechanisms of wear are introduced for better understanding of tribo-layer. In the last part of this paper, the mechanisms of generating static friction are shown for the cases of plastic contact and elastic contact, which is the base for understanding the mechanism of initiation of macroscopic sliding.
Methylation at position 5 of cytosine in DNA is being intensively studied in many areas of biological sciences, as the methylation is intimately associated with the control of gene functions. The principal analytical method for determining the sites of 5-methylcytosine in genome at the sequence level involves bisulfite modification of DNA. The utility of this chemical treatment is based on the property of bisulfite to selectively deaminate cytosine residues. The bisulfite-mediated cytosine deamination was discovered in 1970 by us in the University of Tokyo. At the same time, Shapiro and his coworkers in New York University found the same reaction independently. We also reported that 5-methylcytosine was deaminated by bisulfite only very slowly. These findings were later utilized by a group of Australian scientists to devise a means to analyze 5-methylcytosine in DNA; thus, a method called ‘bisulfite genomic sequencing’ was invented by these researchers in 1992. This review describes the author’s reflection of the discovery of bisulfite reactions with pyrimidine bases. The author’s recent work that has resulted in an improvement of the procedure of analysis by use of a newly devised high concentration bisulfite solution is also described.
The behavior of seismicity in the area candidate to suffer a main shock is investigated after the observation of the Seismic Electric Signal activity until the impending main shock. This is based on the view that the occurrence of earthquakes is a critical phenomenon to which statistical dynamics may be applied. In the present work, analysing the time series of small earthquakes, the concept of natural time χ was used and the results revealed that the approach to criticality itself can be manifested by the probability density function (PDF) of κ1 calculated over an appropriate statistical ensemble. Here, κ1 is the variance κ1(=<χ2>−<χ>2) resulting from the power spectrum of a function defined as Φ(ω)=∑k=1N pk exp(iωχk), where pk is the normalized energy of the k-th small earthquake and ω the natural frequency. This PDF exhibits a maximum at κ1≈0.070 a few days before the main shock. Examples are presented, referring to the magnitude 6∼7 class earthquakes that occurred in Greece.
The Capitanian (Late Guadalupian) Maokou Formation at Chaotian in northern Sichuan, South China, is composed mainly of shallow marine shelf carbonates deposited on the Tethyan side of South China. By detailed field mapping and scientific drilling, we newly found out unique fossil assemblages and a sharp lithologic change in the upper part of the Maokou Formation. The main part of the Maokou Formation (over 130 m thick) is composed of algal packstone with Wordian-Capitanian large-tested fusulines, rugose corals and other sessile benthos, whereas the Uppermost Member (13 m thick) is composed of black limy mudstone/chert with Capitanian offshore biota (ammonoids, radiolarians, and conodonts). The topmost Capitanian conodont zones are missing; however, the Maokou Formation is disconformably overlain by 260±4 Ma volcanic ash (Wangpo bed) and the Early Lopingian Wujiaping Formation with plant-bearing coaly mudstone and shallow marine carbonates (packstone). The newly identified facies change indicates that northern Sichuan has experienced rapid sea-level changes in the late Guadalupian, i.e., first a transgression in the mid-Capitanian and then a regression across the Guadalupian-Lopingian boundary. As the end-Guadalupian is characterized by a global regression, such a volatile sea-level fluctuation, in particular the sea-level rise, is unique to the Tethyan side of South China. The newly recognized relatively deep-water late Guadalupian sequence adds new paleo-environmental information and further provides a paleotectonic interpretation of the low-latitude eastern Tethyan margin immediately before the end-Guadalupian mass extinction.
Myostatin is involved in an inhibitor of muscular growth and differentiation. Myoblasts derived from double-muscled Japanese shorthorn cattle (DM myoblasts) with absence of functional myostatin had higher abilities to proliferate and differentiate than myoblasts derived from normal-muscled cattle (NM myoblasts). In DM myoblasts, mRNA expressions of fetal myosin heavy chain (MyHC) in growth medium and of fast 2a and 2x MyHC in fusion medium were significantly greater than that in NM myoblasts. No significant difference existed in expressions of embryonic and slow MyHC mRNA between DM and NM myoblasts. The expression of MyoD mRNA was suppressed in myoblasts by administration of myostatin. Two cloned DM myoblast strains (DMc) were established. Addition of myostatin for DMc resulted in less myotube formation and suppression of mRNA expression of fast 2x MyHC. These findings suggest that the endogenous myostatin preferentially down-regulates the expression of the fast 2x MyHC and participates in differentiation of myofiber types during early bovine myogenesis.