Transcriptional control of gene expression is one of the most important regulatory systems in animal development. Specific gene expression is basically determined by combinatorial regulation mediated by multiple sequence-specific transcription factors. The decoding of animal genomes has provided an opportunity for us to systematically examine gene regulatory networks consisting of successive layers of control of gene expression. It remains to be determined to what extent combinatorial regulation encoded in gene regulatory networks can explain spatial and temporal gene-expression patterns. The ascidian Ciona intestinalis is one of the animals in which the gene regulatory network has been most extensively studied. In this species, most specific gene expression patterns in the embryo can be explained by combinations of upstream regulatory genes encoding transcription factors and signaling molecules. Systematic scrutiny of gene expression patterns and regulatory interactions at the cellular resolution have revealed incomplete parts of the network elucidated so far, and have identified novel regulatory genes and novel regulatory mechanisms.
Many ultrasonic wave gages were placed with a small spacing across the swash zone to monitor either sand level or water level. Continuous monitoring conducted for a few years enabled the collection of data on the change in wave properties as well as swash-zone profiles. Data sets including two cases of large-scale berm erosion were analyzed. The results showed that 1) shoreline erosion started when high waves with significant power in long-period (1 to 2 min.) waves reached the top of a well-developed berm with the help of rising tide; 2) the beach in the swash zone was eroded with higher elevation being more depressed, while the bottom elevation just outside the swash zone remained almost unchanged; and 3) erosion stopped in a few hours after the berm was completely eroded or the swash-zone slope became uniformly mild. These findings strongly suggest that long waves play a dominant role in the swash-zone dynamics associated with these erosional events.