Plants & Animals
11 Dec 2020
Recognizing species is important for understanding regional biodiversity and for environmental conservation. However, taxonomic identity is sometimes obscure even with the organisms that are closest to human life.
03 Dec 2020
A team of scientists from Hokkaido University has suggested that marimo maintain their characteristic spherical shape due to the rarity of the formation of reproductive cells.
20 Nov 2020
A research team, affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has presented the whole-genome sequence and analyses of the endangered whale shark (Rhincodon typus), the largest extant fish on Earth.
17 Nov 2020
Scientists have discovered an extremely rare species of cymothoid from the mouth of a museum specimen of a deep-sea shark caught from the East China Sea, suggesting its wide distribution around the globe.
02 Oct 2020
Marine biologists studying the genetic structure of the Humboldt squid population found it is vulnerable to overfishing by fleets on its migration path.
07 Sep 2020
Scientists are learning about species adaptation by comparing their stem cell-related genes.
20 Jul 2020
Environmental pollutants threaten the health of marine mammals. This study established a novel cell-based assay using the fibroblasts of a finless porpoise stranded along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea, Japan, to better understand the cytotoxicity and the impacts of environmental pollutants on the porpoise population. The results revealed that the concentrations of PCBs and DDTs which accumulated in the porpoise are likely to have an adverse effect at the cellular level.
17 Jun 2020
A new study found that animals sampled in the wildlife-trade supply chain bound for human consumption had high proportions of coronaviruses, and that the proportion of positives significantly increases as animals travel from traders, to large markets, to restaurants.
09 Jun 2020
Podonychus gyobu sp. nov., a second species of the genus Podonychus Jäch & Kodada, 1997, hitherto known only to inhabit Indonesia, is reported to have been found in Kyushu, Japan. The endophallic structures and the larva of P. gyobu sp. nov. are described.
09 Jun 2020
A transparent container made by Nagoya University researchers allows easy and quick grafting of very young plants, with benefits for agriculture and plant research.
27 May 2020
Scientists could gain insight into atypical sex development in vertebrates, including humans, by studying how nutrition affects sex changes in fish larvae.
22 May 2020
When studying the larval morphology of Toramini (Coleoptera: Erotylidae) we found that larvae of the genus Toramus attach their exuviae to their distal abdomen, with each exuvia from the preceding instar attached to the next to form a vertical pile. Exuvial attachment is facilitated by modified hook-like setae with flattened shafts inserted into the exuvia of the previous instar. We discuss the possibility that the exuvial attachment serves as a kind of autotomy — “exuvial autotomy”.
07 Mar 2020
A new feedstock featuring a local grass could provide a more reliable and nutritious food supply for livestock in Malaysia.
26 Feb 2020
Policymakers will need to step up to the challenges caused by significant shifts in fish species distributions caused by climate change.
07 Feb 2020
A calf was born from an embryo lacking cells which form a large part of the placenta, providing new insight into the regenerative capacity of mammalian embryos.
27 Jan 2020
Researchers at the International Islamic University Malaysia have developed biodegradable food packaging container featuring the skin of the durian fruit that can also be used as 3D printing filament.
21 Jan 2020
The relationship between body size and climate in lizards and snakes is more complex than originally thought.
13 Jan 2020
Analysis of the Nomura’s jellyfish genome has identified unique genetic adaptations that helped them become early, successful multi-cellular predators.
23 Dec 2019
NUS researchers found that chevron patterns in fish swimming muscles require physical forces to correctly develop, not only from genetic instruction or biochemical pathways.
17 Dec 2019
A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore has found that the effective population size and genetic diversity of Singapore’s Cynopterus brachyotis, believed to remain widely unaffected by urbanisation, has shrunk significantly over the last 90 years – revealing that the current biodiversity crisis may be much broader than widely assumed, affecting even species thought to be common and tolerant of fragmentation and habitat loss.
09 Dec 2019
A personal account of bonobo and chimpanzee behaviour by a renowned Japanese primatologist explains what and why we should learn from our closest relatives.
06 Dec 2019
Scientists in Korea find a protein that mediates the interaction between the cellular systems involved in rapid responses against foreign genes in plants
26 Nov 2019
Researchers from the Mechanobiology Institute at the National University of Singapore have shown that cells can attach to the fibrous protein meshwork that surrounds them only if the fibres are spaced close enough. The team’s findings can explain the abnormal motility patterns displayed by cancer cells.
13 Nov 2019
Differences in gene expression led to different bird songs between species.
21 Oct 2019
A group of neurons called the corticobasal ganglia projecting neurons are important for vocal learning in young birds, but not in adult birds, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
08 Oct 2019
Biennial ‘Primates in Peril’ Report Spurs Critical Support for Conserving Most Imperiled Species Globally.
01 Oct 2019
Jellyfish are animals that possess the unique ability to regenerate body parts. A team of Japanese scientists has now revealed the cellular mechanisms that give jellyfish these remarkable "superpowers."
05 Sep 2019
Do you have new research to share about anthropology, archeology, paleontology, sociology, climate change or endangered species? You could win the opportunity to highlight your research in Asia Research News 2020.
03 Sep 2019
A new beaked whale species Berardius minimus, which has been long postulated by local whalers in Hokkaido, Japan, has been confirmed.
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Giants in history
Lim Boo Liat (21 August 1926 – 11 July 2020), a leading authority in the conservation of Malaysia’s biological diversity, had his initial interest in the outdoors piqued by nature lessons in school. Lim, who helped found the National Zoo of Malaysia and re-establish the Malaysian Nature Society, had a particular interest in researching zoonotic diseases associated with small animals.
In his over 30 year career in rice research, Munshi Siddique Ahmad (1924 – 19 October 2011) developed more than 30 varieties of high-yielding rice, including the BRRI Shail strain, which was responsible for increasing the rice production of Bangladesh from 8 million tonnes in 1965 to 20 million tonnes in 1975.
Known as Mr. Natural Rubber, chemist and researcher B. C. Shekhar (17 November 1929 – 6 September 2006) introduced a number of technical innovations that helped put Malaysia’s natural rubber industry on the world map.
Ground-breaking cancer researcher Kamal Jayasing Ranadive (8 November 1917 – 11 April 2001) advanced the understanding of the causes of leukaemia, breast cancer and oesophageal cancer through the use of animal models. She was also among the first to recognise how susceptibility to cancer is linked to tumour-causing interactions between hormones and viruses.
Birbal Sahni (14 November 1891 – 10 April 1949), a pioneer of Indian palaeobotanical research, and founder of what is now the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences in Lucknow, made multiple contributions to the study of prehistoric plants. These include the discovery of a new group of fossil gymnosperms (named Pentoxylae), reconstruction of the extinct Williamsonia sewardiana plant, and description of a new type of petrified wood from the Jurassic age.
The research of Filipino pharmaceutical chemist Luz Oliveros-Belardo (3 November 1906 – 12 December 1999) focussed on essential oils and other chemicals derived from native Philippine plants.
Thai physician and conservationist Boonsong Lekagul (1907 – 1992) made major contributions to the preservation of his country’s wildlife.
Lü Junchang (1965–9 October 2018) was a Chinese palaeontologist who is remembered as one of the most important dinosaur researchers of the last 50 years. Lü was an expert on reptiles that lived during the Mesozoic period about 252 million years ago. Cumulatively, Lü and his colleague/competitor Xiaolin Wang described and named more than 50 new species of flying dinosaurs known as pterosaurs.
Filipina chemist María Orosa (29 November 1892–13 February 1945) fought malnutrition and food insecurity in the Philippines by devising over 700 culinary creations including Soyalac, a nutrient rich drink made from soybeans, and Darak, rice cookies packed with Vitamin B1, which could prevent beriberi disease caused by Vitamin B1 deficiency. She was also a partisan of the guerrilla movement resisting Japanese occupation during World War II, and died after being struck by shrapnel while working in her laboratory during the Battle of Manila.
Eminent Filipina scientist and educator Clara Lim-Sylianco (18 August 1925 – 23 July 2013) is remembered for her extensive research on mutagens – often-carcinogenic agents that permanently alter genetic materials such as DNA – antimutagens and bioorganic mechanisms.
Research by Filipino plant scientist Benito Vergara (23 June 1934 – 24 October 2015) on the physiology of rice led to the development of deep-water and cold-tolerant rice varieties. Vergara also made several contributions to expanding public awareness of rice science.
Chinese palaeontologist, archaeologist and anthropologist Pei Wenzhong (January 19, 1904 – September 18, 1982) is regarded as a founder of Chinese anthropology.
Chinese agronomist Yuan Longping (7 September 1930 – 22 May 2021) developed the first varieties of the high-yield, hybrid rice that brought food security to multiple countries including China, which had been ravaged by food shortages as recently as the mid-20th century.
Little is known about Ali, a teenager from Sarawak, Malaysia, who was chief assistant to the famous naturalist Alfred Wallace. Most of what is known comes from Wallace’s writings. Ali accompanied Wallace on expeditions throughout the Malay Archipelago from December 1855 to February 1862.
The techniques that make industrial pearl culturing possible were developed over a century ago at the Misaki Marine Biological Station in Japan. The station’s first director, Professor Kakichi Mitsukuri, emphasized to Kokichi Mikimoto in 1890 that stimulating pearl sac formation was important for pearl growth, and they went on to successfully develop methods for culturing pearls.
Indian organic chemist Asima Chatterjee (1917 to 2006) studied the medicinal properties of plant products, especially compounds known as vinca alkaloids.
Motoo Kimura (13 November 1924 – 13 November 1994) was a Japanese theoretical population geneticist who is best remembered for developing the neutral theory of molecular evolution.
Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose (30 November 1858 – 23 November 1937) was a scientist and inventor who contributed to a wide range of scientific fields such as physics, botany and biology.
Rinchen Barsbold (born 21 December 1935) is a Mongolian palaeontologist and geologist who was instrumental in discovering and recovering one of the largest dinosaur collections in the world from the Gobi Desert in Mongolia and China.
Osamu Shimomura (27 August 1928 – 19 October 2018) was a Japanese organic chemist and marine biologist who dedicated his career to understanding how organisms emitted light.
Woo Jang-choon (8 April 1898 – 10 August 1959) was a Korean-Japanese agricultural scientist and botanist.
Joo-myung Seok (November 13, 1908 – October 6, 1950) was a Korean butterfly entomologist who made important contributions to the taxonomy of the native butterfly species in Korea.
Janaki Ammal Edavalath Kakkat (4 November 1897 – 7 February 1984) was an Indian botanist who studied plant chromosomes and genetics.
Salimuzzaman Siddiqui (19 October 1897 – 14 April 1994) was an artist and chemist from Pakistan whose research focused on natural products from plants.
Rapee Sagarik (4 December 1922 – 17 February 2018) was Thailand’s renowned expert on orchids.
Maqsudul Alam (14 December 1954 – 20 December 2014) was a biologist from Bangladesh who is renowned for his research on genome sequencing
Susan Lim (14 February 1952 – 2 August 2014) was a Malaysian parasitologist who specialized in studying a class of flatworms, the Monogeans, which are parasites of fishes.
Kono Yasui (16 February 1880 – 24 March 1971) was a Japanese botanist who researched the genetics of poppies, corn and spiderworts and surveyed the plants that had been affected by the nuclear fallout after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Julian Arca Banzon (13 March 1908 – 13 September 1988) was a biochemist from the Philippines who was a pioneer in alternative fuel research. Banzon investigated the use of indigenous crops as sources of renewable fuels and chemicals.
Rampa Rattanarithikul is a Thai entomologist who is a leading expert on mosquitoes. Rattanarithikul began her scientific career as a technician collecting mosquito specimens for the United States Operations Mission (USOM) malaria control program. Throughout her career, she discovered 23 species and officially described 13 others.
Meemann Chang (born 17 April 1936) is a Chinese palaeontologist who studied the fossils of ancient fish to understand the evolution of life. By examining fossils, she uncovered new insights on how vertebrates, animals with a backbone, migrated from the sea and became adapted to live on land.
Michiyo Tsujimura (17 September 1888 – 1 June 1969) was a Japanese agricultural scientist and biochemist recognized for her research of green tea components.
Roseli Ocampo-Friedmann (23 November 1937 – 4 September 2005) was a Filipino-American scientist whose research focused on cyanobacteria and microorganisms that inhabit extreme environments.
Min Chueh Chang (10 October 1908 – 5 June 1991) was a Chinese-American biologist who studied fertilization in mammalian reproduction.
A Japanese surgeon, Tetsuzo Akutsu (20 August 1922 – 9 August 2007) built the first artificial heart capable of keeping an animal alive.
Gloria Lim (1930-2022) was a mycologist from Singapore who studied tropical fungi. One of the first students to attend University of Malaya when it was founded in 1949, she went on to become the first female Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Singapore.
Edgardo Dizon Gomez (7 November 1938 – 1 December 2019) was a Filipino marine biologist who recognized the need to protect marine resources, especially coral reefs, in the Philippines.
Võ Quý (1929 – 2017) was a Vietnamese ornithologist who studied the destruction of tropical forests and agricultural lands in Vietnam by Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. In addition to planning forest restoration projects, Quý rediscovered the rare eastern sarus crane, an endangered species that had vanished during the war.