www.czu.cz ; www.raupp.info
Shaw Jei-fu, a botanist at the Academia Sinica, claims to have discovered
the first gene for obesity, called an ob gene, found in a plant, August 2004
by Owen Chu .
In a recent issue of Taiwan's Science Monthly, Shaw described his research
team's discovery of a tubby-like protein gene family in the plant
Arabidopsis. In humans and laboratory mice, certain mutations of the tubby
gene are linked to maturity onset obesity. Most of Shaw's gene family, which
has 11 members, can be found uniformly throughout the plant body, whereas
two show remarkable organ specificity. The magazine speculated that the
transgenic technology might be applied to vegetables or rice, making them
bigger, or even to creating small versions of ornamental plants.
Taiwanese optical disk maker Ritek Corp. announced it had acquired the
rights to new technology that can produce 100-gigabyte (GB) disks. The
company licensed the patent for five years from National Taiwan University's
Center for Nanostorage Research, which developed the near-field recording
(NFR) technology for DVDs. The current generation of Blu-ray DVDs have a
storage ceiling of 27GB because they are constrained by the optical
diffraction limit of light. Using red lasers, NFR technology reduces the
diameter of recording marks on DVDs to one-quarter their conventional size,
giving them space for up to 100 GB of data, according to Ritek. The company
expects to begin marketing NFR DVD discs by 2007.
Exon Science Inc. announced recently that after five years of research it
had developed transgenic technology to speed up the growth of eucalyptus
trees, which are used widely in Taiwan's paper industry. The new technology
also increases levels of fibrin and reduces the xylogen content of
eucalyptus, increasing the tree's effectiveness as a source of pulp.
According to Su Wen-wei, Exon's general manager, many countries have tried
to find just such a way to increase pulp production as the world continues
to use more paper. Paper and lumber companies from overseas have contacted
the company, he said, asking about technological cooperation
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