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  1. Abstract We have performed sound velocity and unit cell volume measurements of three synthetic, ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline grossular samples up to 50 GPa using Brillouin spectroscopy and synchrotron X-ray diffraction. The samples are characterized by average grain sizes of 90 nm, 93 nm and 179 nm (hereinafter referred to as samples Gr90, Gr93, and Gr179, respectively). The experimentally determined sound velocities and elastic properties of Gr179 sample are comparable with previous measurements, but slightly higher than those of Gr90 and Gr93 under ambient conditions. However, the differences diminish with increasing pressure, and the velocity crossover eventually takes place at approximately 20–30 GPa. The X-ray diffraction peaks of the ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline grossular samples significantly broaden between 15–40 GPa, especially for Gr179. The velocity or elasticity crossover observed at pressures over 30 GPa might be explained by different grain size reduction and/or inhomogeneous strain within the individual grains for the three grossular samples, which is supported by both the pressure-induced peak broadening observed in the X-ray diffraction experiments and transmission electron microscopy observations. The elastic behavior of ultrafine micro/nanocrystalline silicates, in this case, grossular, is both grain size and pressure dependent.
  2. Echinoderms are an exceptional group of bilaterians that develop pentameral adult symmetry from a bilaterally symmetric larva. However, the genetic basis in evolution and development of this unique transformation remains to be clarified. Here we report newly sequenced genomes, developmental transcriptomes, and proteomes of diverse echinoderms including the green sea urchin (L. variegatus), a sea cucumber (A. japonicus), and with particular emphasis on a sister group of the earliest-diverged echinoderms, the feather star (A. japonica). We learned that the last common ancestor of echinoderms retained a well-organized Hox cluster reminiscent of the hemichordate, and had gene sets involved in endoskeleton development. Further, unlike in other animal groups, the most conserved developmental stages were not at the body plan establishing phase, and genes normally involved in bilaterality appear to function in pentameric axis development. These results enhance our understanding of the divergence of protostomes and deuterostomes almost 500 Mya.