February 2010

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International Cooperation

CAS Elected IAP Executive Member

InterAcademy Panel on International Issues (IAP) held its General Assembly on Jan. 15, 2010 in London, UK. Howard Alper, former President of the Royal Society of Canada and Vice President of the University of Ottawa and Mohamed Hassan, Executive Director of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and President of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) were elected co-chairs of IAP. CAS was elected as member of the executive committee. IAP currently has a membership of 103 scientific academies from around the world. Its executive body, the Executive Committee, consists of 11 member academies. The new executive committee members are: Chinese Academy of Sciences, Indian National Science Academy, Malaysian Academy of Sciences, Academy of Scientific Research and Technology of Egypt, Chilean Academy of Sciences, Mexican Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society, UK, French Academy of Sciences, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy, Australian Academy of Science and US National Academy of Sciences.

CAS Presents 2009 Int¡¯l Award

On Jan. 27, 2010, the Award for International Scientific Cooperation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences for 2009 was presented to Prof. Gerhard Boerner from the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Prof. Hamilton Raven, Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and Prof. Roger-Maurice Bonnet, Director of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI).

Prof. Gerhard Boerner: senior research fellow of the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, professor of the University of Munich, internationally famous expert in high energy astrophysics and cosmology. In the past 30 years, Prof. Boerner has been unstinting in his efforts to promote cooperation between Germany and China in astronomy and played an important role in promoting the research of relativistic astrophysics in CAS.

Prof. Hamilton Raven: Director of the Missouri Botanical Garden, botanist, global leader in the research of plant diversity and conservation, member of the US National Academy of Sciences (1977), foreign member of CAS and over 20 national academies of sciences, chairman or member of many important research associations and societies of the United States. He proposed the Flora of China project (revised edition of the Flora Reipublicae Popularis Sinicae in English) in 1979 and carried it on since 1989. As the foreign co-editor of the Flora of China, he has played critical and indispensable role in proposing the project, compiling book series and raising funds. The Flora of China is the largest flora in English in the world.

Prof. Roger-Maurice Bonnet: In the early years, he was mainly engaged in the research of solar physics. In July 2002, Prof. Bonnet assumed offices as Chairman of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and Director of ISSI. Prof. Bonnet has actively supported and led the cooperation between China and the European Space Agency and made outstanding contributions to improving China¡¯s space environment detection technology, scientific satellite operating capacity and detection data management level and promoted the training of space science research personnel in China.

New Director of Institut Pasteur Shanghai Appointed

Recently, the ceremony for offering the letter of appointment to the new director of the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai was held in the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Science. Li Jiayang, Vice President of CAS, offered the letter of appointment to Ralf Altmeyer, the newly appointed French director of the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai. Li Jiayang commended the gratifying progress made by the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai in the past 5 years and the contributions of the former director, Vincent Deubel to the research work. He wished that Director Ralf Altmeyer will use his scientific skills and international business sense to further improve the research level of the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai and make contributions to the public health of China and the world. Ms. Alice Dautry, Director of the Institut Pasteur offered Ralf Altmeyer congratulations on his inauguration from France.

Updated Results Published for Human Genetic Diversity Study

The achievement in the human genetic diversity study of humans jointly accomplished by over 90 researchers from the Pan-Asian SNP Consortium of Human Genome Organization (HUGO) were published in the Dec. 10, 2009 issue of Science as the achievement of the first stage of the Pan-Asian SNP. As co- corresponding authors, Prof. Jin Li from the CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology and Fudan University and Associate Research Fellow Xu Shuhua from the CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology were responsible for data analysis and article writing (another two corresponding authors come from the Genome Institute of Singapore). Other researchers come from 11 countries and regions, including China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States. Since the project was formally started in 2005, specimens of over 70 representative Asian populations were collected covering the east, south and southeast Asia and whole-genome genotyping was conducted on over 1,700 specimens by the chip technology of Affymetrix. According to systemic and in-depth analysis, it was concluded that the basic genetic structure and characteristics and geographic distribution mode of modern Asian populations was the result of early migration of populations. This study revealed the genetic fine structure of Asian populations from the level of whole genome, systemically expounded the relationship between genetic structure and geographic distribution and linguistic structure of Asian populations, developed the shared haplotype method, and explored the origin, history of migration, population integration mode and genetic structure forming mechanism of Asian populations in depth.

Birds Proved to be 60 Million Years Older than Estimation

The Jan. 29, 2010 issue of Science reported the earliest Alvarezsauroidea, the latest result achieved by the Chinese and American scientists in the research of the origin of birds. This result not only improved the understanding about the evolution of shape of this category of dinosaur, but also greatly advanced the research of the time frame of the origin of birds. Since 2000, the international research group led by Prof. Xu Xing from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, CAS and Prof. Clark from the George Washington University and researchers from China, the United States, the United Kingdom and Mexico, has carried out detailed geologic-palaeontologic survey of the exposed mid-late Jurassic atthe Junggar Basin, obtained a lot of geologic data and collected many important fossil specimens. Now this region has become one of the most important places of origin of mid-late Jurassic terrestrial animals in the world. Choiniere and his collaborators of the research group reported a small-sized theropod fossil found in deposits formed about 160 million years ago at the Shishugou Formation in the Junggar Basin. This specimen represented a new species in the Alvarezsauroidea of theropod. Researchers named it Haplocheirus. Previously, the earliest Alvarezsauroidea fossil found in the world was 90 million years old. Haplocheirus extends the fossil record of Alvarezsauroidea by at least 60 million years and rewrites the diverging time of theropod as well as the origin time of birds.

Other Issues
Sixty-seventh Issue (December 2009)
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