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Agustín Udías

After their restoration of 1814, the Jesuits made significant contributions to the natural sciences, especially in the fields of astronomy, meteorology, seismology, terrestrial magnetism, mathematics, and biology. This narrative provides a history of the Jesuit institutions in which these discoveries were made, many of which were established in countries that previously had no scientific institutions whatsoever, thus generating a scientific and educational legacy that endures to this day. The article also focuses on the teaching and research that took place at Jesuit universities and secondary schools, as well as the order’s creation of a worldwide network of seventy-four astronomical and geophysical observatories where particularly important contributions were made to the fields of terrestrial magnetism, microseisms, tropical hurricanes, and botany.

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Edited by Kathrin Herrmann and Kimberley Jayne

Animal experimentation has been one of the most controversial areas of animal use, mainly due to the intentional harms inflicted upon animals for the sake of hoped-for benefits in humans. Despite this rationale for continued animal experimentation, shortcomings of this practice have become increasingly more apparent and well-documented. However, these limitations are not yet widely known or appreciated, and there is a danger that they may simply be ignored. The 51 experts who have contributed to Animal Experimentation: Working Towards a Paradigm Change critically review current animal use in science, present new and innovative non-animal approaches to address urgent scientific questions, and offer a roadmap towards an animal-free world of science.

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Valérie Wyssbrod

The Exploitation of Marine Genetic Resources in Areas beyond National Jurisdiction by Valérie Wyssbrod begins by identifying the legal regime applicable to these underexploited resources which offer vast potential for the development of new drugs, bioplastics, depolluting products and other innovations. The author then outlines provisions for a new treaty, currently under discussion at the UN and presents alternatives to a new regime including revised legal instruments, the development of soft law and the creation of an applicable ecolabel.

Dans L’exploitation des ressources génétiques marine hors juridiction nationale, Valérie Wyssbrod détermine en premier lieu le régime juridique actuellement applicable à ces ressources. Ces dernières représentent à l’heure actuelle un potentiel énorme pour le développement de nouveaux médicaments, bioplastiques, dépolluants, etc. Encore peu exploitées, elles seront sans aucun doute au coeur d’un futur processus d’innovation et de nouveaux brevets. Dans un second temps, l’auteur dessine les contours et les principaux axes d’un nouveau traité spécifique, projet actuellement discuté à l’ONU. Valérie Wyssbrod explore finalement trois alternatives au nouveau traité : le remplacement du régime actuel par un autre régime existant, le développement d’un instrument de soft law et la création d’un écolabel.

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Edited by Matthew Chrulew and Dinesh Joseph Wadiwel

Foucault and Animals is the first collection of its kind to explore the relevance of Michel Foucault’s thought for the question of the animal. Chrulew and Wadiwel bring together essays from emerging and established scholars that illuminate the place of animals and animality within Foucault’s texts, and open up his highly influential range of concepts and methods to different domains of human-animal relations including experimentation, training, zoological gardens, pet-keeping, agriculture, and consumption. Touching on themes such as madness and discourse, power and biopolitics, government and ethics, and sexuality and friendship, the volume takes the fields of Foucault studies and human-animal studies into promising new directions.

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Edited by Malte Dreyer, Jeanette Erdmann and Christoph Rehmann-Sutter

Genetic Transparency? tackles the question of who has, or should have access to personal genomic information. Genomic science is revolutionary in how it changes the way we live, individually and together, and how it changes the shape of society. If this is so, then – the authors of this volume claim – the rules that regulate genetic transparency should be debated carefully, openly and critically.

It is important to see that the social and cultural meanings of DNA and genetic sequences are much richer than can be accounted for by purely biomedical knowledge. In this book, an international group of leading genomics experts and scholars from the humanities and social sciences discuss how the new accessibility of genomic information affects interpersonal relationships, our self-understandings, ethics, law, and healthcare systems.

Contributors are: Kirsten Brukamp, Gabrielle Christenhusz, Lorraine Cowley, Malte Dreyer, Jeanette Erdmann, Andrei Famenka, Teresa Finlay, Caroline Fündling, Shannon Gibson, Cathy Herbrand, Angeliki Kerasidou, Lene Koch, Fruzsina Molnár-Gábor, Tim Ohnhäuser, Christoph Rehmann-Sutter, Benedikt Reiz, Vasilja Rolfes, Sara Tocchetti
The spectacular progress of the life sciences during the last decades poses new ethical, social and political challenges. In our days, questions of scientific truth and scientific progress are inextricably intertwined with questions concerning ethics, social justice and democratic participation. This series focuses on newly emerging conceptual and practical interfaces between the life sciences, the social sciences and the humanities, in order to address this new complexity in scientifically and socially responsible ways.

The series has published an average of 0,5 volumes per year since 2013.

Takashi Yamamoto, Noritaka Sako and Kenichi Tokita

Abstract

Umami is a Japanese word introduced by Ikeda in 1909 referring to the taste of monosodium glutamate (MSG), an essential taste effect of sea tangle which has been traditionally used in Japanese cuisine. It is accepted that umami is a unique taste independent of the classical four basic taste qualities. Nucleic acid derivatives such as inosine monophosphate (IMP) are also known as umami substances. Synergism, an enhancement of umami, occurs when MSG is mixed with IMP.The uniqueness of the taste of umami substances and the degree of synergism differ greatly among species of animals. Our previous study showed that rats could not discriminate between the taste of umami substances and sweet-tasting substances. We have also found that the chorda tympani plays a major role in mediating the taste of umami substances, followed by the greater superficial petrosal nerve, and the glossopharyngeal nerve has only a minor role. We recorded chorda tympani responses of rats and obtained the following results. L-AP4, an agonist for mGluR4, showed synergistic effects like MSG when mixed with IMP. MAP4, an antagonist for mGluR4, did not suppress the responses to L-AP4 and the mixture of L-AP4 and IMP. Gurmarin, an anti-sweet peptide, and pronase E, a proteolytic enzyme, suppressed the responses to the mixture of MSG and IMP and the mixture of L-AP4 and IMP. Although no synergism occurred for the mixtures of MSG and sweet substances, the responses to the mixtures of L-AP4 and sweet substances were synergistically enhanced, but they were not suppressed by MAP4, gurmarin or pronase E. On the basis of these response characteristics to umami substances, we have proposed multiple transduction mechanisms for umami taste in rat taste cells.

Alexander A. Bachmanov and Gary K. Beauchamp

Abstract

Inbred strains of mice provide a powerful tool for genetic dissection of quantitative behavioral traits. We have investigated intake of the umami-tasting substances monosodium glutamate (MSG) and inosine 5′-monophosphate (IMP) in inbred mice. Studies with two inbred strains, C57BL/6ByJ and 129P3/J have revealed strain differences in voluntary consumption of 300 mM MSG which depend, at least partially, on postingestive effects of solution consumption, as well as on strain differences in preferences for much lower MSG concentrations, which depend on perception. The strain difference in MSG acceptance was in the opposite direction to the strain difference in NaCl acceptance and was unrelated to sweetener preference in the F2 generation. Thus, the strain differences in MSG acceptance are not related to the strain differences in salty or sweet taste responsiveness and most likely represent specific umami taste responsiveness. High acceptance of MSG solutions by the C57BL/6ByJ mice was inherited as a recessive trait in the F2 hybrid generation. Further genetic linkage analyses using the F2 hybrids are being conducted to map chromosomal locations of genes determining the strain difference in MSG acceptance. At the same time, a wider range of inbred strains is being phenotyped in a search for new model systems for studying umami substance acceptance.

Kumiko Sugimoto, Kiyohito Nakashima, Keiko Yasumatsu, Kazushige Sasamoto and Yuzo Ninomiya

Abstract

In order to clarify the role of group III metabotropic glutamate receptor (including mGluR4) in transduction for umami taste, we investigated the effects of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and 2-amino-4-phosphonobutyrate (L-AP4), a mGluR4 agonist, on taste cells by use of electrophysiological and biochemical methods, and Ca2+ imaging in C57BL mice. The responses of the chorda tympani (CT) nerve to MSG were suppressed by gurmarin, a sweet response inhibitor, indicating that the MSG response may be partly mediated by sweet receptors, while the CT responses to L-AP4 and the glossopharyngeal (GL) nerve responses to MSG were little suppressed by gurmarin suggesting that these responses may be mediated by only umami receptors. Biochemical study demonstrated that MSG stimulation significantly elevated both adenosine 3′, 5′-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) and inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3) levels in the fungiform papillae. The increase in cAMP might occur through sweet receptors, which is consistent with CT nerve responses. The increase in IP3 levels may relate to intracellular events mediated by group III mGluRs, because MSG and L-AP4 induced increment of intracellular Ca2+ concentration in some taste cells. Whole-cell patchclamp recording from isolated taste cells showed that L-AP4 induced not only outward currents with a conductance decreases but also inward currents with conductance increases at about resting potentials. These inward currents reversed at +10-+30 mV suggesting that cation conductance was activated by L-AP4. These results strongly support the idea that phospholipase C activation mediated by group III mGluRs is involved in transduction mechanism for umami taste, and also suggest the possibility that stimulation of the mGluRs may cause activation of cation conductance as well as [Ca2+]i elevation.