Report on the Activities under the Auspices on the JSPS’s Invitation Program of Foreign Eminent Scientists


    According to the program of this year, Konan University invited again Dr Yoshio Masui, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto, Canada, during the period of September 6 to September 25, 2004. The account of the activities of this year will be briefly reported as follows:

  1. Scientific Information Exchanges
       Dr. Masui attended the 75th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Zoologists held at Konan University, Kobe, Japan on September 10-12, 2004, and gave a seminar lecture in the Symposium "Commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Japanese Society of Zoologists". He began his speech with the episodes that reflected on his research life, which he started at Konan University in 1955, and those, which he spent at Yale University and University of Toronto in the following years. In this lecture he discussed problems related to the advancement of science and technology with special reference to the progress of developmental biology in historical perspective. About 400 audiences attended his lecture.
       Dr. Masui gave another lecture entitled "Development of developmental biology seen from my personal research point of view" in the seminar, held at Konan University on September 20, 2004. In this lecture, he described research activities of contemporary researches that had significant influences on his research during the periods of his appointment as faculty at Konan University. Also he discussed the tradition and historical background of biological sciences developed within the spiritual atmosphere of education at Konan University. He expressed enthusiastically his personal views of the relation between the development of developmental biology and his research experiences. There were also active discussions between the speaker and the audience about the topical social phenomena, such as "Removing from Science" tendency developed among young students as well as problems of science education. About 70 audiences attended the lecture.

  2. Co-operation Research
       We carried out cooperative investigations into "Cell Biological Problems of Parthenogenesis and Bisexual Reproduction in the Water Flea Daphnia magna". Previously, it was found that methyl farnesoate (MF) could induce male reproduction in parthenogenetic offspring of D. magna. This time, in order to clarify whether or not MF is actually synthesized in the body of Daphnia, we examined the last step of MF biosynthesis, the methylating reaction of farnesoic acid, by (1) investigating the reaction that transfers the methyl radical from [methyl-3H]methionine to farnesoic acid, and by (2) detecting the mRNA of the enzyme, farnesoic acid O-methyltransferase that catalyzes the above reaction.
       However, we did not obtain results that could provide evidence for the in vivo synthesis of MF in D. magna. Further, it became clear that production of dormant eggs cannot be induced by MF. These results taken together suggest that MF is not involved as physiological signal from parthenogenesis to bisexual reproduction in the transmission in D. magna and may be interpreted as the indication that male production results from a non-physiological pathway induced by MF which differs from the normal pathway operated by physiological functions of D. magna in vivo.
       These achievements were reported, being entitled as "sex determination and alternation of the reproduction pattern in D. magna", in the symposium "sex determination and mechanisms of sex differentiation in animals: investigating the evolution of sex determination", which was organized as part of the 75th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Zoologists held at Konan University on September 10-12, 2004.