April, 2009

Headline News Innovation and Development

Applied Technology

Basic Science Cooperation between CAS and Local Authorities
Bioscience International Cooperation Brief News Geoscience Highlights of Exchanges
Headline News

Lu Yongxiang Reelected Co-Chair of IAC

On Mar. 23, at the ninth annual session of the IAC Council held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, all delegates applauded the reelection of Lu Yongxiang, President of CAS, as co-chair of IAC for the new term. Lu Yongxiang expressed gratitude to delegates from worldwide academies of sciences for their trust in CAS and himself and highly commented Dr. Bruce Alberts, founding Chairman of IAC and former President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences for his efforts and outstanding contribution he made for the development of IAC. President Lu committed that he would promote international cooperation and exchanges and make contribution to the sustainable economic, social and scientific development around the world during his term, together with Dr. Robbert H. Dijkgraaf, the other newly elected co-chair of IAC and President of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences as well as all members of the new IAC Council.

"Peking Man" Proved to be Much Older

The year of 2009 marks the 80th anniversary of discovery of Zhoukoudian site of palaeoanthropology. Over the past 80 years, scholars both at home and abroad have agreed that the "Peking Man" fossils were estimated to be 450,000 years old. However, Prof. Shen Guanjun, from the Nanjing Normal University and Prof. Gao Xing, from the Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, CAS, concluded in Nature that the "Peking Man" fossils are about 770,000 years old. This result drew extensive attention from the whole world and made the mysterious "Peking Man" a hotspot once again. The image of an alternative white and brown yellow Peking Man skull was published as front cover of the latest issue of Nature.

Contribution to Climate Change: Eco-safety at ¡°Third Pole¡±

On Feb. 18, the Executive Meeting of the State Council reviewed and approved the Program for the Protection and Construction of Ecological Safety Zones at Tibetan Plateau compiled by different institutions, but with the Chengdu Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS as the first technological supporting unit.

It was pointed out at the meeting that as the principal part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau and cradle of many rivers, Tibet has an unique and diversified ecological system and its ecological position is of great significance to China and the world as well. The program will give top priority to the protection of eco-environment, attach importance to rehabilitation and take necessary protective and construction measures so as to realize favorable cycle of ecological system in Tibet, ensure the national ecological safety, improve the production and living conditions at the agricultural and pastoral areas, increase the income of farmers and herdsmen and thus to make contribution to the improvement of global climate change.

New Target for Bird Flu Control

AResearch Team headed by Prof. Liu Yingfang, from the Institute of Biophysics, CAS, in joint efforts with the Joint Laboratory of the Nankai University, Tsinghua University and the Institute of Biophysics, CAS, headed by Rao Zihe, member of CAS, published their latest research results on Feb. 4 issue of Nature. Based on their previous work, they reported the 2.2 ?ngstr?m (?) crystal structure of the N-terminal 197 residues of PA, termed PAN, from an avian influenza H5N1 virus. Structural comparisons and mutagenesis analysis of the motif identified in PAN provide further evidence that PAN holds an endonuclease active site. Furthermore, functional analysis within vivo ribonucleoprotein reconstitution and direct in vitro endonuclease assays strongly suggest that PAN holds the endonuclease active site and has critical role in endonuclease activity of the influenza virus polymerase, rather than PB1. The high conservation of this endonuclease active site among influenza strains indicates that PAN is an important target for the design of new anti-influenza therapeutics.

Dr. Ervin Fodor and Dr. Tao Deng from the Oxford University and Dr. Ruowen Ge from the National University of Singapore (NUS) also participated in some research work. Prof. Zhang Rongguang from the American APS Synchrotron Radiation provided help on data collection. Prof. Chen Hualan and Yu Kangzhen from the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences provided virus genes.

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