Friday, 4. February 2011 - 2:50

OIST Symposium on Extraordinary Abilities of Animals

On Saturday, January 29, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Promotion Corporation (OIST) hosted a symposium on extraordinary abilities of animals at the Okinawa Industrial Center in Naha City.

Approximately 90 people, including high school students, were enthralled by talks from five speakers who are among the world’s top researchers on the subject. In his opening remarks, Dr. Noriyuki Satoh, who leads the Marine Genomics Unit at OIST, emphasized the significance of the event, underlining the exceptional level of the speakers.

The speakers gave examples of fascinating abilities of certain animal such as Tardigrades, microscopic water dwelling animals that can survive in the most extreme conditions of heat and cold and can go almost a decade without water. A species of African sand fly, the Sleeping Chironomid, can survive in a completely dry state, and repeat “sleep” and “revive” modes. Laughter erupted from the audience when a TV commercial song about a sugar called trehalose that is created by the larvae of Sleeping Chironomids was played.

Dr. Keisuke Nakashima, a researcher in the OIST Marine Genomics Unit, fascinated the audience with a description of the evolution of Ascidians, a group of marine invertebrates and their capability of biosynthesizing cellulose.

The symposium, co-sponsored by the Okinawa Science and Technology Center with the support of Okinawa Prefecture and Okinawa Genome Research Promotion Council, also discussed the possibility of academia-industry collaboration. Following a vigorous Q&A session, the four-hour event ended in success.

Opening Remarks

Dr. Noriyuki Satoh, Principal Investigator, Marine Genomics Unit, OIST


Dr. Takekazu Kunieda, School of Science, The University of Tokyo
Dr. Takashi Okuda, National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences
Dr. Hiromichi Nagasawa, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, The University of Tokyo
Dr. Hitoshi Michibata, Department of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University
Dr. Keisuke Nakashima, Researcher, Marine Genomics Unit, OIST



90 people came to the symposium



Dr. Noriyuki Satoh introduced the subject



Dr. Keisuke Nakashima explained how animals biosynthesize cellulose