research german Magazine of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft 1/2004 On Minnesang in the Database Getting a Grip on the Computer World A Hand Full of Technology with Finger- tip Control When Small Organisms Have a Big Effect An Insect’s Life in a Scented World german research 1/2004 Commentary In this issue Johannes Dichgans Stimulation for Clinical Research . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 2 Compressed Air for a Robotic Hand Engineering Sciences Artificial hands are needed for Robert Wynands, Georg Bison, Antoine Weis a wide variety of applications. Another Kind of Heart Murmur . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 4 The important thing is, to simu- Günther Schmidt late the human hand’s great mobility and dexterity. The Getting a Grip on the Computer World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 6 hand developed by engineers Marcell Meuser, Hubertus Murrenhoff from Aachen is distinguished A Hand Full of Technology with Fingertip Control . . . . . . . . . p. 9 by its specialised grasping and holding abilities. It is also the first hand that is not powered by Arts and Humanities an electric motor, but instead Armin Schlechter, Karin Zimmermann, Matthias Miller operates using compressed air. Page 9 On Minnesang in the Database . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 12 Life Sciences Insights into Otto L. Lange an Ecosystem When Small Organisms Have a Big Effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 16 Living soil crusts extend from Giovanni Galizia the deserts to the tropics and from the Arctic to the Antarctic. An Insect’s Life in a Scented World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 21 Not only do they form remark- Jörg Schmidtke, Peter Nürnberg, Michael Krawczak ably diverse and resilient com- Rhesus Monkeys and Reproductive Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 24 munities, but they also provide the soil with effective protection Gerald G. Schumann against erosion by wind and The Fight against Retroviruses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . p. 26 water. The preservation and regeneration of these crusts thus plays an important role in the conservation of the global landscape for the future. Basic research in biology can make Invitation to the a contribution to this. Page 16 Middle Ages Manuscripts are cultural and historical records The Effect of great significance. This includes the “Renner” Scents Have manuscript, which was completed around 1430 in Nuremberg (Page 12). Insects have a highly developed Cover photo: Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg sense of smell. This gives them their sense of direction when hunting for food or searching Impressum for a mate. A detailed study of the olfactory system in honey german research is published by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, Ger- bees and soldier ants has been man Research Foundation); Editorial staff: Dieter Hüsken (editor-in-chief, design), Dr. Rembert Unterstell, Ursula Borcherdt-Allmendinger, Angela Kügler-Seifert; conducted to discover how Translation: SciTech Communications GmbH, Heidelberg; Publisher: WILEY-VCH scents are processed in the Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim, P.O. Box 10 11 61, D-69451 Weinheim brain. The results obtained from (Germany); Annual Subscription price 2004: € 44.00 (Europe), US $ 48.00 (all other this study can also be partially countries) including postage and handling charges. Prices are exclusive of VAT and subject to change. 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ISSN 0172-1518 german research 1/ 2004 Commentary C linical research in Germany is jects that, after first having obtained dent experts in the clinical sciences. in need of stimulating impetus. the informed consent of the partici- Experience has shown that many This is why the Deutsche pants, are undertaken in accor- questions can only be successfully Forschungsgemeinschaft in cooper- dance with a clearly defined study explored independently of the phar- ation with the Federal Ministry of protocol at various locations, some- maceutical industry and with the Education and Research (Bun- times on a worldwide basis, and financial resources provided by desministerium für Bildung und correspondingly require a large public research funding institutions. Forschung, BMBF) has introduced number of patients. the new “Clinical Studies” pro- However, the objective of the T gramme. Its purpose is to promote new “Clinical Studies” funding he proper implementation of clinical researchers in a concerted programme is to support not only clinical studies requires a high effort and to facilitate networking. studies with large patient pools, degree of professionalism; this This is all done for a good reason! but also those focusing on smaller is currently the exception rather The importance of clinical research groups of patients. The pharmaceu- than the rule at the participating is obvious: People everywhere fol- tical industry has no direct econom- clinical institutions. With this in low health care research with great ic interest in these latter research mind, the funding programme aims interest, and even with specific ex- projects. One such example is the to significantly improve the existing pectations, because they have high treatment of malignant brain tu- research culture and to provide the hopes concerning the results of such mours of which only about 3,600 know-how to participating universi- research for the prevention, diagno- occur each year. In other words, the ty hospitals for organizing and exe- sis and treatment of disease. At the funding programme is aimed exclu- cuting international clinical studies same time, it has been known for sively at science-driven clinical that are as excellent as they are in- many years that while the state of studies. These differ significantly novative. The observance and im- clinical research in Germany is first- from drug approval studies in that plementation of internationally rec- rate in some areas, it is less than they focus on a clinically important ognized research standards (e.g., satisfactory in others, especially in scientific question and are con- the “Good Clinical Practice” Guide- patient-oriented research. This is ceived and published by indepen- lines of the International Confer- particularly noticeable from a struc- tural perspective and in terms of the international competitiveness of the research undertaken. These defi- ciencies become apparent in a study by the Boston Consulting Group which indicates that Germany takes one of the last places, behind Den- mark, Great Britain and the Nether- lands, in a ranking of countries by the number of publications (relative to population) reporting on clinical studies. This is so despite the fact that Germany, with a great number of specialists and top-notch medical facilities, in principle has all the proper conditions for conducting patient-oriented research. In 1999 the DFG already unambiguously stated this fact in its white paper on “Clinical Research” which provided an overview of the state of German clinical research, analysed its defi- ciencies and suggested improve- ments. In the meantime the recom- mendations made by this white paper have now begun to be imple- mented. Tangible and creative momentum has resulted from the associated analysis. One example is our “Clinical Studies” programme. What does the term – “clinical studies” – actually mean? Clinical 2 studies are systematic research pro- german research 1 / 2004 ence on Harmonization) is a deci- funding proposals can then be sub- ment and the career paths of those sive factor and an important bench- mitted in the second stage where with scientific talent: the absence of mark. Within the framework of this they will again be discussed by a time for science with an overload of programme, the DFG will fund clin- group of reviewers. clinical care tasks, the absence of ical studies of non-pharmacological structured training in the sciences therapies as well as studies focusing and unsatisfactory career prospects T on clinical diagnosis and prognosis. he programme is intended not for clinical researchers when com- In a complementary effort, the only to support research excel- pared with the possibility of serving BMBF has undertaken the task of lence, but also to make med- as a department head. Another im- supporting projects evaluating ical research more well-known to portant factor is the chronically in- pharmacological treatment meth- the world at large than has previ- adequate funding that is available ods and meta-analyses involving ously been the case. The recently for clinical research. the systematic examination of clini- launched reform process in medical cal studies. research requires more than just A The DFG and the BMBF expect new programmes and initiatives. It s described and recommend- their coordinated and harmonised demands nothing less than a com- ed in the white paper, the approach in this area of research to plete change in the mindset of those most important and momen- achieve particularly long-lasting responsible for its implementation tous political reform measure re- and effective results. Proposal sub- at university hospitals. In this con- mains the separation of hospital mission is a two-stage procedure for text the new funding programme care on the one hand from teaching quality assurance reasons. In the will also increase the prestige of and research on the other. Ultimate- first stage, applicants submit draft clinical studies conducted at these ly, this would mean a division of proposals, which are evaluated by locations. The opportunities for up- medicine into two different acade- an international and independent and-coming researchers in the clini- mic careers. However, this would group of reviewers. If approval is cal sciences still need to be signifi- require a less hierarchically struc- granted by the reviewers in the first cantly improved! Structural hurdles tured division of labour for clinical stage, the complete and detailed still impede the proper develop- researchers with significantly small- er associated areas of responsibility. Furthermore, there are two more basic conditions that are absolutely essential for achieving internation- Prof. Dr. ally competitive performance in Johannes Dichgans German clinical research: namely, the recognition of specialisation and an understanding of the long-term nature of this type of clinical re- Stimulation search. The “Clinical Studies” pro- gramme now being launched as a joint initiative of the BMBF and the DFG will try to meet these demands. And in doing so, it will consider the for Clinical special requirements of this type of research in Germany. Research Prof. Dr. Johannes Dichgans Vice President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft New funding to correct deficiencies in Johannes Dichgans, Department of Neurolo- medical research: The DFG and the BMBF gy, University of Tübingen, is one of the Vice Presidents of the Deutsche Forschungsge- launch “Clinical Studies” meinschaft. The membership of the Execu- tive Committee of the DFG consists of one President and eight Vice Presidents, as well as the Chairman of the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humani- aties in Germany (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft). 3 german research 1 / 2004 Engineering Sciences Another Kind of field is negligible by contrast. Dur- ing the heart’s contraction, a pattern of approximately circular field lines is found outside the chest exiting from one side and re-entering the Heart Murmur chest a short distance away. However, this physicist’s model is oversimplified: in reality the heart consists of four chambers, none of New possibilities options in medical diagnostics: which is cylindrical. There are two separate circulatory systems – one the magnetic signals of the human heart are recorded for the lung and another for the to assess its state of health heart and the rest of the body. Also, the mechanism of pulse generation is significantly more complex. As a result, a complex, but characteristic H eart diseases are a significant ond. It inverts the voltage between interdependence on time and loca- problem in industrial coun- the cell interior and exterior locally, tion is found in the magnetic field of tries and increasingly also in causing the muscle cell to contract. a healthy heart. developing countries, with a large During this discharge a small part of The magnetic field of the human percentage of deaths being attribut- the electric current reaches neigh- heart is very weak: directly outside able to them. A number of proce- bouring cells that also discharge the chest the strongest signal peaks dures are available for diagnosing and contract as a result. This causes barely reach a millionth of the heart disease, the most familiar of the hollow cylinder to contract and strength of the Earth’s magnetic which are listening to heart sounds push the blood into the circulatory field. Consequently, magnetocar- and recording electrocardiograms system while creating a weak ion diography requires highly sensitive (ECG). In recent years a promising flow called a primary current. The magnetic field detectors. Since the new method of heart diagnostics electrical circuit is closed by a dis- 1970s superconducting quantum in- has increasingly become a subject tributed return current through the terference devices (SQUIDs) have of research: magnetocardiography surrounding medium. Typical cur- normally been used for biomagnetic (MCG). Rather than recording elec- trical heart signals like the ECG, MCG records the associated mag- netic signals. This harmless and contact-free method yields informa- tion comparable or even superior to the ECG. Currently, magnetocar- diography is not yet commonly used because it relies on magnetic field detectors that require cooling close to absolute zero – an expensive and cumbersome procedure. Last year, our research team at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland devel- oped a new technique that works at room temperature, making MCG use possible outside of special high- tech medical centres. From a physicist’s point of view, the physiological processes in the heart can be modelled in a very sim- ple way. The heart is visualised as a blood-filled muscle in the shape of a hollow cylinder, with the top and bottom being closed by the heart rents are only about one to ten mi- measurements. However, these suf- valves. The muscle cells are sur- croamperes. fer from the significant disadvan- rounded by a saline solution, which A physical law states that the pri- tage that depending on construction is slightly charged relative to the mary current is surrounded by a type they must be cooled to -196 de- cell interior. A nerve node is located magnetic field with field lines that grees Celsius or even -269 degrees at one cylinder end and produces an concentrically surround the cur- Celsius. This leads to comparatively 4 electrical pulse about once per sec- rent’s path. The return current's large expenditures for energy and german research 1 / 2004 Magnetocardiography records the heart’s devices as well as the rapid fluctua- chosen. The measuring principle magnetic signals without touching the tions of the earth’s magnetic field makes use of the fact that every patient. The curves show the spatial and can be a thousand times stronger. It atom in a caesium vapour at room temporal distribution of magnetic field is therefore essential to suppress the temperature acts like a small mag- strength. effect of interfering fields. Normal- net. By shining a laser beam ly, this is achieved by performing through the vapour, all of the mag- the measurement in a magnetically nets in it are aligned. Assisted by a logistics, because expensive lique- shielded room. Gradiometers – sev- rotating radio frequency field they fied gases must be used as coolants. eral sensors placed one behind an- then rotate about the local magnetic A simple magnetocardiogram can other – provide an alternative to ex- field. The atoms modulate the inten- be recorded by holding the sensor pensive shielding chambers. In the sity of the laser beam crossing the directly in front of the chest and reg- simplest case, one sensor is located vapour in the same rhythm. This ro- istering the magnetic field’s change immediately outside the chest and a tational frequency is proportional to with time. At first sight these curves second one a few centimetres away. the magnetic field strength and can look similar to those of an ECG. An The heart’s magnetic field decreas- be measured by observing the in- image of the spatial distribution of es rapidly with distance from the tensity modulation of the laser beam magnetic field strength, obtained chest, so the second sensor basically behind the vapour cell. An experi- for example by sequential measure- only records the interferences. mental difficulty is to achieve the re- ments at several points in front of Since these are about equal on both quired precision at a temporal reso- the chest, or by using a grid of sever- sensors, in the difference signal only lution of only a few milliseconds. To al simultaneously measuring sen- the heart’s signal remains. measure the heart’s magnetic field, sors next to each other, contains A competitive magnetocardio- a change in the rotational frequency more information. The way in which graph must offer a magnetic field of only a few hundred-thousandths the field distribution changes dur- sensitivity of one picotesla with a of one percent must be detected. ing a heartbeat is an important diag- time resolution of milliseconds and To reduce the effect of external nostic aid. Compared to the heart's a spatial resolution of one to two interference in the demonstration field, typical interfering magnetic centimetres. For this purpose, a re- set-up, the magnetocardiograph is fields of elevators and other iron- cently developed variant of the opti- operated in a partially magnetically containing or electrically operated cally pumped magnetometer was shielded room. A further reduction 5 german research 1 / 2004 Engineering Sciences is achieved with a two-sensor mag- netic gradiometer. To produce maps of the magnetic-field distribution, the patient is placed in various posi- tions under the sensor and a short time sequence of the magnetocar- diogram is recorded. From this data series a map of the field distribution can be generated for any point in time during the heartbeat. In many cases the magnetocardio- gram supplies information equiva- lent to that of an ECG, but in recent years clinical research has identified a variety of diseases in which the MCG is clearly superior to the ECG. This is particularly evident in cases in which the ECG looks normal, de- spite the presence of a cardiac prob- lem, but where the MCG exhibits ir- regularities. These include, for ex- ample, Wolff-Parkinson-White syn- drome, as well as the hours immedi- ately after a myocardial infarction. Furthermore, the occurrence of cir- cular currents in the heart, whose presence is suspected in the case of certain severe cardiac arrhythmias, for physical reasons does not con- Getting a Grip on the Computer World tribute to an ECG but does to the MCG. A magnetic map also proved more suited for locating arrhythmo- genic centres in the heart muscle than an electrical map, which is im- portant prior to surgical intervention. In computer games or other multimedia applications, So far, the advantages of magne- the user receives only visual and audio sensations. tocardiography have only been brought to bear in a few select high- New touch displays help to transmit tactile sensations tech medical centres because the technical, logistical, and financial burden of installing and operating a M SQUID-based system is too heavy ultimedia and computer ciencies in terms of delivering high for an ordinary hospital or cardio- technologies have become levels of realism. With its monitor logical practice. With the new tech- a part of our everyday lives and speakers, a computer can nology, this expense is reduced to in many ways. Before buying new presently stimulate only two of the such an extent that magnetocardio- furniture, we can view it on a com- five human senses. Other sensa- graphy will also be affordable and puter screen from multiple perspec- tions important for “grasping” the practical for medical practices and tives in a virtual living room. Also world, conveying a sense of motion, remote hospitals. Since magneto- impressive are the virtual recon- force or touch, currently cannot be cardiography is essentially contact- structions of famous historical build- emulated satisfactorily or at all. Fre- free, public screening for heart con- ings, in which computers and multi- quently, however, it is exactly these ditions will be possible once the sys- media give the user the illusion of haptic (relating to the sense of tem has become market-ready. The walking through historical rooms touch) perceptions that turn out to potential advantages to general that no longer exist in reality. Multi- be key for a comprehensive, realistic healthcare are clearly apparent. media computer games enjoy great immersion into virtual, computer- popularity – and not only among generated worlds and environ- PD Dr. Robert Wynands young people – such as auto racing ments. Dipl.-Phys. Georg Bison “à la Michael Schumacher”. How- Customers would certainly ap- Prof. Dr. Antoine Weis ever, with the constant improve- preciate not only being able to see University of Fribourg/ ment of these multimedia systems, their future furniture on the screen 6 Switzerland they often begin to show their defi- but also to feel its surface texture or german research 1 / 2004 test the quality of the upholstery. possible to perform more realistic ac- The technology makes it possible Visits to a virtually reconstructed tions in virtual environments or even to see a phantom hand on the screen historical building could be made to perform teleactions, for example inserting a virtual radio into a dashboard while controlling the significantly more realistic if visitors via the Internet, across distances. movements and feeling the object could run their fingers along the ar- What does a computer require in with one’s own hand. chitectural details and actually have order to give the user of a multi- to exert the force necessary to open modal system haptic sensations in or close a door. And of course the addition to visual and audio stimuli? same applies for computer games. First it must comprise display de- Computer game manufacturers vices that are capable of adequately have recognised the importance of stimulating the haptic sensory chan- finger or a hand, interacting with haptic sensations, which is why they nels. Tactile sensations on the fin- the virtual environment, must be sell joysticks and steering wheels gertips can be conveyed, for exam- blended in the computer image as a giving the player authentic tactile ple, by miniature vibration elements type of phantom, often called an sensations in addition to the familiar or using pincushion-like displays avatar. This ensures that all visual, audio and visual sensory input. composed of numerous individual audio and haptic information trans- These examples indicate a recog- moving rods. mitted by the computer and per- nisable trend in the human-comput- ceived by the user conveys a harmo- R er interface – from today’s multime- obot-like mechanical struc- nious overall experience – which is dia systems to so-called “multi- tures can be used to elicit sen- the crucial factor for realism. modal” systems, in which the user sations of force on the fingers, A few examples of the applica- receives multisensory stimuli and hand and elbow. In addition, special tions developed and executed at the can act and respond by various software must be prepared so that Munich Collaborative Research means. This vision is also at the cen- the computer can generate the spe- Centre show that the “tactile simu- tre of the research activities of the cific haptic stimuli on the displays lation” achievable through multi- Collaborative Research Centre and coordinate them with one an- modality allows a considerably “High-Fidelity Telepresence and other. Despite certain similarities deeper and more comprehensive Teleaction”, located in the Munich with high-quality graphics software grasp of computer-generated worlds area. Telepresence refers to a feel- in the way it can generate three-di- and objects: ing of being physically present with mensional visual sensory impres- Shortly before the introduction of all relevant human senses in a com- sions by computer, corresponding the euro, it was possible not only to puter-generated, virtual world, or in haptic computer programs still visualise the as-yet-physically-un- a real environment that is not direct- place high scientific demands on available one-euro coin, but also to ly accessible to the person. The in- the respective modelling, program- allow one to feel it with the finger- clusion of the haptic sensory modali- ming and computer technology. In tips using a haptic coin model and ty in telepresence systems makes it the end, the human organ, such as a touch displays. Similar techniques 7 german research 1 / 2004 can also be beneficial when used in the temperature of the housing and again in specific applications, thus medical training. For example, it is finally even feel the force required demonstrating a broader applica- possible to practice palpating the to insert it in the instrument panel. A tion potential. They will increase in abdominal wall to locate a beating recently developed mobile haptic importance in the near future, for artery or to detect a tumour. display lets users take a walk example in intensifying medical Another application is associated through an extended virtual art training by use of multimodal organ with “virtual prototyping”, that is gallery, while actually moving or patient simulators, as well as for product develop- through a con- “rapid prototyping” in digital prod- ment on the com- fined area of a uct development. Another area that puter in the auto- A long-term research laboratory or, in will benefit from multimodality is motive or other future, even in teleshopping, in which customers industries, such goal is to enable a their own homes. will one day also receive haptic sen- that users cannot more comprehensive and Users can not sations of the products whilst brows- only see and hear intensive perception only view works ing through a virtual catalogue. Fur- a car radio in a of art such as thermore, there are also possibilities virtual instru- of virtual environments paintings or for the haptic exploration and ma- ment panel, but sculptures from nipulation of nanotechnological or can also touch it. all angles, but molecular biological structures. By means of a complex hand/arm can even touch them and hold them, In the longer term, it is altogether display, they can feel the weight of which as we all know is rarely possi- conceivable that computer-generat- the radio when lifting it, experience ble in a real gallery. ed multimodality will one day also the smoothness or roughness and At present, however, the inten- extend to other sensory perceptions, sive international research efforts such as taste or smell. This would have not yet progressed far enough make it possible to experience virtu- that affordable, mass-market haptic al or real remote environments even A mobile haptic display lets users take a walk display products will be on the hori- more comprehensively and inten- through an extended virtual art gallery, while actually moving through a confined zon yet in the near future. The ap- sively. area. Users can not only view works of art proaches to multimodality de- such as paintings or sculptures from all scribed here have, however, al- Prof. Dr.-Ing. Günther Schmidt angles but can even touch and hold them. ready proven themselves time and Technische Universität München 8 Engineering Sciences A Hand Full of Technology with Fingertip Control Whether as prosthetics or robotic hands – artificial hands are used for a variety of applications. A new, pneumatic robotic hand is making a splash with special grasping and holding abilities I t is usually in images of the terri- good hand and lock in the joint posi- Finally, it is possible to provide sup- ble consequences of war broad- tions. When the locking function port for people wherever high preci- cast by the media that we see the was released, spring mechanisms sion is needed for hours without fa- importance of prosthetics. Prosthet- returned the fingers to their neutral tigue. Such situations commonly ics replace missing joints and limbs position. occur in the field of medicine, where with artificial ones. They have a Today, in addition to medical surgeons must perform lenghty op- long, far-reaching history. The first uses, artificial hands have found a erations with great care. This is an attempts to use artificial hands to broad field of application wherever area in which robotic hands can ease the stigma of a missing limb dangerous or life-threatening con- considerably ease surgeons’ work. were very early. These hands – not ditions make it impossible to send Thus there are in principle two yet functional at that time – were human beings. Situations such as development aims for artificial usually made of wood, ivory or a chemical plant accidents or defus- hands: the prosthesis, which recre- workable metal such as bronze or ing bombs make it desirable to du- ates the appearance of the human iron. The oldest known surviving plicate the natural dexterity of the hand as much as possible, and the artificial hand, which boasts early human hand artificially. Using peo- robotic hand which must attain the joint functionality and a technical ple for assembly and manufacturing flexibility and grasp strength of the interior, is that of Götz von Berlichin- is also becoming ever more compli- human hand. Robotic hand devel- gen (main character in Goethe’s cated. The growing variety of prod- opment usually results in an ap- tragedy of the same title). After he ucts and rising cost pressures in in- pearance similar to that of the lost his right hand in a battle near dustry generate a high demand for human hand. However, in contrast Landshut in 1508 he had an armour- flexible operating equipment that to the prosthesis, this is not primari- er fashion him an artificial hand. He can simulate the abilities of the ly for aesthetic reasons, but rather could position its fingers using his human hand more cost effectively. because it is believed that the 9 german research 1 / 2004 The palm of the “Aachen-IFAS-Hand” Aachen), which, while modelled on hands weight. In addition, it is capa- contains three cylinder-lever drives. the characteristics and structure of ble of applying strong forces relative They allow the thumb and the two the human hand, does not try to imi- to its size with very sensitive pres- outer fingers to move parallel to the palm. The piston rod is connected to tate its appearance. sure control. one end of the proximal joint (the one While the majority of robotic Since it uses only air, it is a very nearest the hand) and the lever end hands developed throughout the environmentally friendly drive prin- is connected to the other end world are driven by electric motors ciple. Another advantage is that and to the back of the hand. or – a few – by compressed fluids, the pneumatic drives are very easy to Aachen robotic hand is the first to be make fire- and explosion-proof, controlled pneumatically, i.e., using since neither the materials used nor human hand has been refined over compressed air. A pneumatic drive the drive medium can cause or ac- the course of evolution into a nearly offers a number of advantages over celerate a fire. Pneumatic energy is perfect grasping and manipulating the electromagnetic principle. For very easy to store in containers in tool. one thing, this type of drive does not the form of compressed air and is The “Aachen-IFAS-Hand” is a ro- have to be made of any special ma- generally available in plants and botic hand developed at the RWTH terials. Low-density materials such hospitals. Finally, pneumatic drives Aachen University (Rheinisch-West- as aluminium or plastic can thus be are very easy to connect since return fälische Technische Hochschule used, significantly reducing the lines can very often be dispensed 10 with in favour of direct ventilation grees of freedom. It was designed movement of the deflection pulley is into the surroundings. However, this way to prevent the fingers from mechanically measured and used to pneumatic drives also have a num- colliding. drive the next finger segment. The ber of disadvantages: The outflow- Three different types of pneumat- 4th degree of freedom of the human ing air causes a certain amount of ic drives were implemented to use finger, which makes it possible to noise, which may have to be sup- the degrees of freedom and allow move the last phalanx, was not re- pressed. Furthermore, pneumatic the fingers to move. They are a nor- produced with a pneumatic drive. It drives are difficult to regulate due to mal cylinder, which pivots the prox- is not really necessary, since the last the compressibility of air, and finally imal joint by means of a lever phalanx of the human finger cannot the compressed air used in pneu- (movement parallel to the palm – 1st be moved independently of the matic drives must be dry and clean, degree of freedom), a swivel drive, other phalanges. That is why the which requires processing and fil- which flexes and extends the proxi- last phalanx on the “Aachen-IFAS- tering the compression medium. mal joint (flexing and extending rel- Hand” is fixed at a 45-degree angle The ongoing miniaturisation of ative to the palm – 2nd degree of to the medial phalanx. This position pneumatic drives and the allows for nearly any con- sensors used has meant that ceivable grips and manipu- the “Aachen- IFAS-Hand” lations. To control the finger could be reduced to one and positions, the hand is oper- a half the size of a human ated in a closed-loop posi- hand. However, it only has tion control. To grasp and four fingers. A fifth finger hold objects, a force control was decided against since loop is used, which ensures only three fingers are need- that the desired grasping or ed to securely hold an ob- holding force is maintained. ject. To manipulate an ob- A typical grasping task is ject while holding it secure- performed using both con- ly, one finger must be re- trol loops. The fingers are leased and repositioned, first brought to the object making the fourth finger using position control. necessary. When the pressure applied The “Aachen-IFAS-Hand” in the drives exceeds the has a total of 11 degrees of value specified for the freedom, which means that grasping task as a result of 11 independent movements the resistance of the surface can be performed. The two of the object, the force con- outer fingers and the thumb trol loop takes over. The each have three degrees of force control, which uses the freedom and the middle fin- pressure within the drives, ger has two. The outer fin- must be very sensitive: too gers and the thumb can little force will cause the ob- move parallel to the palm (1st de- The oldest existing moving ject to slip, while excessive force gree of freedom) and also towards prosthetic hand belonged to Götz can damage or destroy the object. the palm (2nd degree of freedom). von Berlichingen. He had it made after A total of 22 pressure sensors and losing his right hand in a battle in 1508. The 3rd degree of freedom is the 11 angle sensors integrated within movement of the medial joint of the the hand supply the two control finger. This allows the other pha- loops with the information they re- lanx to move towards the palm of freedom) and a belt drive, which quire (the pressure levels in the dri- the hand. moves the medial joint (flexing and ves and the joint angles). Two pres- The joints of the human finger are extending with respect to the proxi- sure sensors are required for each named according to a simple pat- mal phalanx – 3rd degree of free- degree of freedom because each tern: The joint that connects the fin- dom). The cylinder-lever drive is drive has two chambers, each of ger with the palm is called the prox- found inside the palm, while the which can be subjected to pressure. imal joint (proximus, Latin: nearest). swivel drive is attached to the palm The signals from these sensors The next joint is the medial joint and to the cylinder-level drive and are processed in real time with mea- (medialis, Latin: middle), and the makes up the proximal joint. The surement and control hardware and last joint is called the distal joint belt drive is located in the first pha- converted into position signals for (distantia, Latin: distance). The pha- lanx. This is a pneumatic cylinder the hand's pneumatic drives. langes are named in the same way. with no piston rod, whose linear The middle finger of the “Aachen- movement is converted into a pivot- Dipl.-Ing. Marcell Meuser IFAS-Hand” cannot move parallel ing movement by a downstream Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hubertus Murrenhoff to the palm and so only has two de- belt-roller system. In this way, the RWTH Aachen 11 german research 1 / 2004 Arts and Humanities On Minnesang in the Database The mediaeval German manuscripts at the Heidelberg University Library are cultural and historical records of great significance. Comprehensive cataloguing is making the collection newly accessible for research xtraordinarily fa- practiced by laymen. It is connected preventive treatment at that time: mous among the only partly with the Latin medicine “Place a bit of saffron tied in a small manuscripts at the taught at the universities, which cloth in wine or water, give some of Heidelberg Univer- was mainly theoretical in nature this to a sober man to drink and he sity Library is the and still largely based on ancient will not become drunk during the Codex Manesse, knowledge. day”. The luxurious life at court also known as the Many of these collections are in- could bring on gout, known in the Große Heidelberger Liederhand- tended as a comprehensive weapon Middle Ages as podagra. The cause schrift. It is a significant collection of against all of the diseases of the of this affliction could be treated German Minnesang (Middle High human body “a capite ad calcem” – with the prescription “Whoever has German song texts) and records a from head to toe (or literally “from podagra, wine is forbidden to him. total of 5400 stanzas of Middle High head to heel”). But one particular He must drink honey water”. An- German love poetry. An important reference to the Heidelberg court other approach was to alleviate suf- factor in the fame of the Manesse is must not be overlooked. Several fering that was already present. A its full-page coloured miniatures in- recipes deal with alleviating the gouty big toe or painful hand could troducing the songs of the 140 Min- consequences of excessive eating be helped by acorns thrust in ox nesingers. It also contains the fa- and drinking – a problem with gall: “From this make a plaster and mous portrait of Walther von der which the common people of this tie it on the foot or the hand to drive Vogelweide. The manuscript came time were not burdened. But in fact out the podagra”. into the possession of the Count Elector Friedrich IV of the Palati- From these two types of manu- Palatine of Heidelberg in the late nate, born in 1574, died as early as scripts, the Codex Manesse and the 16th century and disappeared in the 1610 from the consequences of his medical recipes, one can get an im- confusion of the Thirty Years War. drunkenness. The following was a pression of the range of the 848 Ger- Its recovery in 1888 from the posses- man manuscripts at the Heidelberg sion of the Bibliothèque Nationale University Library. The Codices in Paris and its return to the Heidel- Palatini Germanici make up the old- berg University Library was cele- est collection of vernacular records brated as an event of great national of this magnitude. Until 1623, these significance. manuscripts were part of the world- Less well known are the nearly renowned Bibliotheca Palatina at three hundred vernacular medical Heidelberg’s Church of the Holy manuscripts now being newly cata- Spirit. This library was founded logued in Heidelberg. They are largely collections of medical recipes, some of which were written The illustration shows God, depicted down by the Elector himself. One here as an architect, creating the world. notable example is the twelve-vol- It is from a three-volume German Bible ume “Book of Medicine”, personal- and originated around 1477 in the ly compiled and set down by Elector manuscript workshop of Ludwig Henfflin. Ludwig V of the Palatinate (1478 to The workshops tried to speed up the production of manuscripts by using several 1544). Many of the authors of the scribes and illuminators. approximately 150,000 recipes can, This miniature of Minnesinger Walther von however, no longer be identified. der Vogelweide is the most famous picture 12 This is undoubtedly folk medicine, from any German manuscript. german research 1 / 2004 upon the death of Elector Otthein- least the German manuscripts. The tions are obsolete. More than a third rich (1502 to 1559), whose will Latin, Greek and Hebrew codices of the collection has already been called for the university collection to that can be traced back to Heidel- re-catalogued at this time. be combined with that of Heidel- berg University and all printed The Deutsche Forschungsge- berg Castle. In September 1622, works of the same origin remain in meinschaft has funded the cata- during the Thirty Years War, the Rome to this day. loguing of mediaeval occidental Calvinist elector palatine residence A project to re-catalogue the manuscripts since the 1960s. This was captured by Catholic League Codices Palatini Germanici has programme has so far resulted in troops. The victorious Duke of been underway since 1996. This is over 150 printed catalogues. The Bavaria, Maximilian I, presented the third generation of cataloguing. “Guidelines for Cataloguing Manu- the library to the pope as a war tro- A brief index appeared in 1817 after scripts” are used as a compulsory phy. The next year it was transport- the return of the manuscripts in standard. They are intended to en- ed over the Alps on the backs of 1816. Then around 1900, two spe- sure that the individual libraries in mules. In 1816, during a politically cialists catalogued the collection Germany create uniform cata- favourable period after the fall of and divided it into an older section logues. Napoleon, Heidelberg Library di- of German studies and a younger The manuscript database “Manu- rector Friedrich Wilken was able to one of Palatinate history. After a scripta Mediaevalia” contains, in persuade the Vatican to return at hundred years, all of these publica- addition to the index data, complete descriptions of the manuscript as well as some fully digitalised manu- scripts, including some material from Heidelberg. The results of the cataloguing now underway in Hei- delberg are entered in this database as the project progresses. What is meant by the term manu- script description? A manuscript, in contrast to a printed work that is part of an edition, is a unique object in every respect. Depending on the complexity of a codex, a manuscript description can comprise anywhere from half a page to several dozen pages. An attempt is made to make the external elements and the con- tent of the manuscript accessible for research. Each catalogue entry consists of three parts: an external description, a history of the manuscript and a breakdown of the contents. The ex- ternal description deals with the physical form of the object. This in- cludes information on the base ma- terial, generally paper or parch- ment, the quire formula, which gives the structure of the book block, the script, the book decora- tion and the binding. The Heidel- berg Codices Palatini are primarily paper manuscripts. The provenance of a manuscript begins with its ori- The Song of Roland (left), written around 1170 in Regensburg by the cleric Konrad tells the story of Charlemagne battling against the Moors. The Heidelberg manuscript contains the oldest version of this song and is illuminated with 39 high- 14 quality illustrations. The “Renner” manuscript, completed around 1430 in Nuremberg, bears witness to the Christian Gospel and is Bamberg schoolmaster Hugo von Trimberg’s magnum opus. The round picture shows the world as the product of Creation. The phoenix, rising from the ashes, portends the coming of Jesus Christ. gin, which in the best case is docu- mented with a scribe entry or can be determined by investigating the script, watermark, binding, dialect and other aspects. The Heidelberg history of the Codices Palatini Ger- manici ends temporarily in 1623 when they were transported to Rome. In many cases, no light can be shed on the early history of a manu- script. This is even the case for the Codex Manesse. While there is plenty of evidence for its creation in Zurich during the first thirty years of the 14th century, the history of the manuscript is completely unknown from then until just before it was moved to Heidelberg in the 16th cen- tury. The provenance is followed by details on the most important litera- ture. With such prominent pieces as the Codex Manesse, this requires a critical examination of the vast quantity of literature about this manuscript. The description of the contents of the manuscript lists the individual texts in the order in which they appear in the manu- script. In many cases, it is sufficient an incipit index containing the first codices. In this specific case, they to indicate an academic edition lines of all of the texts, and a person, give us a fresh look at the castle li- here. Particularly lesser-known place and subject index. Without brary of the Heidelberg electors and texts will often not have a usable these indexes, a manuscript cata- their sources. The medical manu- title in the manuscripts. In such logue with its wealth of detailed in- scripts of the Bibliotheca Palatina cases, the first and last words, formation would be completely un- can once more serve as an example: known as the incipit and explicit, usable. their number shows the high value are given. For example, the begin- An organic collection such as the placed on this area of study at the ning of one text in the Codex Palati- Codices Palatini Germanici in Hei- Heidelberg court. Historical li- nus 212 giving instructions on delberg is a culturally and histori- braries thus have a source value blood-letting reads: “Master Al- cally significant ensemble. The in- comparable to that of other histori- mansor says that from the blood-let- dividual manuscripts have, in con- cal records. This applies to an en- ting comes much hurt and much trast to collections that have come tirely unique degree to the holdings wisdom if one does it at the right together by chance, an internal, his- of the Heidelberg Bibliotheca time…”. In this case, a similar incip- torically deducible relationship to Palatina so rich in tradition. it shows that there are two parallel one another. This is what the intro- records of this text in different man- duction to a manuscript catalogue Dr. Armin Schlechter uscripts. The information provided deals with. It attempts to create a Dr. Karin Zimmermann by the descriptions of the individual synthesis of the individual observa- Dr. Matthias Miller manuscripts goes into two indexes: tions made regarding the individual Heidelberg University Library 15 german research 1 / 2004 Life Sciences When Small Organisms Have a Big Effect Living soil crusts exist in all warm and cold arid lands of the world. They not only form remarkably enduring living communities, but also protect the soil effectively against erosion by wind and water T he arid lands of the world are also leaf-shaped, foliose and even characterised by incomplete shrub-like, fruticose forms. Lichens plant cover, or even its com- are anchored with attachment or- plete absence, because in the gans: cell bundles penetrate into deserts, semi-deserts and steppes of and through the soil and solidify it the world, as well as in many arctic with a finely branched web of regions, there is not sufficient pre- mycelial filaments. There may also cipitation for closed vegetation be mosses and liverworts, which cover. Between bushes and plants also attach themselves to the sub- the soil is open and appears to be strate. The result is a microcosmic bare. But this appearance is decep- community which has a great, often tive. A more detailed analysis shows landscape-forming significance, be- that the soil surface is densely popu- cause the activity of these organ- lated by tiny organisms. Filaments isms solidifies the soil surface like a of blue-green algae, the cyanobac- close-knit carpet. As a result, the teria, penetrate the top few millime- soil particles in the uppermost mil- tres of soil. They secrete slimy car- limetres or centimetres are no The composition of living soil crusts bohydrates from their sheaths with is mainly determined by the amount longer loose and mobile relative to which they attach themselves to of precipitation. each other, but are highly interwo- particles on the ground. As well as On a dune in Israel’s Negev desert ven and glued together. This com- bacteria and microfungi, green (top): in the lifted round clod the pact layer of soil and living organ- algae colonies grow on, or slightly cohesive soil crust, which was formed isms forms a “biological soil crust”. below, the surface. But the most by cyanobacteria and algae, can be This crust formation is extraordi- conspicuous are lichens, which are seen. On Cyprus (right): a white crust narily important for the stability of lichen dominates the soil crust in a often brightly coloured. Lichens are the soil surface, because it protects Mediterranean shrub community. In symbiotic communities of fungi and the desert in Namibia: students from against erosion by wind and water. algae. Many species cover the Würzburg at work during a field trip; Wind tunnel measurements, taken ground in a crusty layer, others are the soil is covered by crust-forming by the American crust specialist squamulose or scaly, but there are lichens. Jayne Belnap, demonstrated that 16 crusts are not susceptible to erosion. They can withstand wind speeds ten times higher than crustless ref- erence soils without soil particles being blown away. If the protective crust is removed, running water can also wash away far more material. Without this protection many arid and semiarid lands would turn into dust bowls with a constantly chang- ing surface structure. Crusts also play an important role as pioneers in the recolonisation of disturbed soils by plants. Other properties are also pro- foundly changed by crust formation. The organisms and their secretions expand significantly together with the soil particles when they are first moistened by rain, sealing the soil surface. This significantly reduces water penetration into the ground. Instead the water flows downhill and allows run-off farms to cultivate plants in desert valleys, as for exam- ple in the central Negev Highland. This type of farming was already practised there by the Nabataeans. Even on sand dunes, where most of the water usually seeps away, some water run-off may become estab- lished in this manner and so plant cover may form in the dry valleys. Biological soil crusts occur in almost all warm or cold arid lands around the globe. They may be found in the cactus deserts of the Americas, the Eucalyptus savannahs in Australia and the dry grasslands of the Mediterranean. Biological soil crusts are also found in the open polar tundra, at high altitudes and even in Antarctic locations. On a small scale, soil crusts even grow in the gaps of local steppe formations in central Europe. 17 The composition of soil crust com- munities is mainly determined by the amount of precipitation. Mosses and liverworts have the greatest moisture requirements, while lichens predominate in dryer locations. In desert areas with a lot of dew and mist, such as the Namib, lichens with green algae prevail, while cyanobacterial lichens are more common in the deserts with little dew near the Dead Sea for example. A sun-scorched desert surface is one of the most extreme habitats for living organisms on this planet. The boundary layer close to the soil is where the energy exchange takes place, where the highest tempera- tures occur during insolation and the lowest during nocturnal radia- tion of heat. High temperatures of up to almost 70°C have been mea- sured even in ground lichens in the Kaiserstuhl hills in south-western Germany, where winter tempera- tures may drop to -20°C. In hot A leafy whitish ground lichen colonizes a soil crust together with mosses in the northern Harz mountains near Goslar, Germany. Lichens, algae and cyanobacteria densely covering the ground on the Colorado plateau, USA (below). Bacteria and lichens fix nitrogen from the air and thereby contribute to fertility in North American desert soils. 18 Even after years of desiccation under experimental conditions, they remain viable. This in itself is not sufficient, however: any produc- tive metabolism needs moisture. The organisms must be able to use the limited quantities of water and the all too often very brief moist pe- riods effectively. Only shortly after rainfall does the desert surface that had not shown any signs of living activity come to life. Filaments of cyanobacteria creep into the light from the upper- most soil layers. They use the brief moist period for their metabolism Soil crusts with dominating crust lichens and growth. As soon as it becomes and a high percentage of a brownish-red drier they retreat a few millimetres fruticose or shrub-like lichen (far top). back into the soil. Thanks to their After mountain bike tires and trampling have destroyed the soil crust (left), water sensitive sensors they are capable of and wind erosion sets in. At the measuring recognising changes in moisture station in the Namib desert photosynthesis levels in their environment and, and the moisture content of lichen samples thus, avoiding longer periods of are monitored. sunlight. Apart from the infrequent rainfalls, soil crust lichens are espe- cially capable of using additional water sources. Mist, or even dew deserts and polar regions the maxi- and frost, are sufficient to activate mum and minimum temperatures their metabolism. Dried-out green are even more extreme. Soil crust algal lichens can even reactivate organisms must therefore have their metabolism in equilibrium great resistance to heat and cold. only with high humidity but without The most critical factor at a soil a single drop of water. These prop- crust location is water. High insola- erties enable them to exist in the tion and low humidity will repeat- coastal Namib desert, where almost edly dry out mosses, lichens and no rain falls, but mist, dew, and high algae. As poikilohydrous, i.e. inter- humidity occur regularly. Photosyn- mittently moistened organisms, thetic productivity in biological soil they are very resistant to drought. crusts is the most important factor of 19 german research 1 / 2004 their existence. Recording photo- begins to shine more brightly, the hectare from soil crust activity has synthetic activity at different natur- organisms dry out again completely been demonstrated. This fertilisa- al locations and analysis of their re- and become latent. At this Namib tion benefits entire ecosystems that sponses under controlled conditions location soil crusts are only active suffer from nitrogen deficiency. provide insight into the ecophysio- for about 10 percent of the total time Under natural conditions biologi- logical functions of these highly in the course of a year, whereas cen- cal soil crusts are omnipresent in specialised organisms. tral European soil crusts that benefit the world’s arid lands. However, Hundreds of square kilometres in from extensive rainfall and snow are humans have become their worst the coastal zone of the Namib desert active for 35 to 65 percent of the enemy. Particularly in their dry are covered by soil crusts. For much time. state, crust communities are very of the day they appear grey and In one year a lichen-dominated sensitive to mechanical impact. parched. Every morning after mist soil crust community can absorb up They break and crumble under or dew has fallen, however, they to 370 kilograms of carbon per human feet and animal's hooves in awake to new life and the desert hectare from the air and bind it in cases of overgrazing, they are takes on a green lustre. Relative to plant matter. That is a significant ground up by car tires and tank the surface area, the chlorophyll contribution to soil improvement in tracks. Human beings have been content of the soil crust is similar to arid lands with little productivity pushing their activities ever deeper that of a beech leaf for example. The from flowering plants. This carbon into arid lands for some time – to maximum rates of carbon dioxide fixation is also of importance on a use the last pasture reserves, for fixation by crust lichens from the air global scale, but precise details on construction or for off-road tourism. are of a similar order of magnitude. the extent of biological soil crusts The fragile soil crust layer is being It is fascinating to think that the oth- over the entire planet are not cur- destroyed on a large scale and the erwise apparently dead desert floor rently possible. It is estimated that soil is then laid bare to wind and awakens to life, as if it were a huge they cover 5 to 15 percent of the water erosion. This may have dev- extended leaf. However, this awak- Earth’s total land surface. They thus astating consequences and it is es- ening only lasts for a short time, represent a sizeable link in the glob- sential that we become aware of often less than an hour. As soon as al carbon dioxide cycle. At many lo- this danger. the mist has dispersed and the sun cations it is also very important that An important task of modern free-living cyanobacteria of the soil landscape management in arid crusts as well as lichens with a lands is the protection of soil crusts. cyanobacterial partner fix nitrogen In the USA and Australia extensive Mosses and green algae in Antarctica. from the air and so increase soil fer- programmes for their protection are They cover and stabilise the soil surface tility. In North American desert soils already underway, but the regener- in ice-free areas where melting snow an average annual nitrogen input of ation of destroyed crusts is a long, provides moisture. up to nine kilograms of nitrogen per drawn out process because of their slow growth. Pure cyanobacteria crusts are formed relatively quickly, but it takes many decades before a lichen-rich crust community recov- ers from destruction. Since artificial planting has not been very success- ful so far, management is restricted to encouraging and preserving ex- isting soil crusts. From the deserts to the tropics and from the Arctic to the Antarctic we often – quite carelessly – step on the carpet of biological soil crusts. They constitute a complex ecosystem with many highly spe- cialised organisms living in a com- plicated equilibrium. Biologists, soil scientists and landscape ecologists are trying to understand the struc- ture and function of this sensitive living skin that spans the arid lands of our planet as both protection and provider. Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. mult. Otto L. Lange 20 Universität Würzburg german research 1 / 2004 Life Sciences An Insect’s Life in a Scented World Whether searching for food or a partner – scent plays an important role for insects. How scents are processed in their brain is answered by studies on the olfactory system in honeybees and robber ants I nsects have a pronounced sense of smell. For example, bees learn to recognise the scent of nectar- rich blossoms so that they will fly to those flowers from which they can collect the most honey for their hive. Scents also play an important role in insects’ search for a mating partner. The silk moth female attracts males with sexually attractive substances over long distances. The males smell these chemical messages and fly against the wind to the female. The partners can even find each other in the evening twilight. Social insects, such as bees, ants and ter- mites, use scents for communica- tion. We all know about ant roads: the animals follow a scent trail on scent. Evolution “wrote” the link be- In insects the olfactory receptors are the ground to their destination. tween scent and behaviour into the stimulated by various scents. The resulting These messenger substances pro- genes. This is entirely different in impulses are sent to the brain via neural appendages. The optical sections depict duced by the animals themselves the case of environmental scents, as antennal lobes of an ant (left) and a and used to communicate with for example blossom scents by honeybee (right) members of their species are called which bees are lead to a nectar-rich pheromones. diet. Bees must learn these scents For animals there is a critical over the course of their life. pheromones and are exposed to difference between environmental Scientists have examined the many different environmental scents – such as a blossom scent for question whether the brain process- scents. For this purpose, social in- the bee – and pheromones. Environ- es these two scent classes different- sects are particularly suited because mental scents cannot be predicted, ly. On the one hand, can the genetic many of the signals necessary but pheromones, in a sense, consti- memory for pheromones be found in for life in communities require tute a part of the species’ memory. the brain and, on the other hand, pheromones. Honeybees and rob- For a scent of this type to fulfil its can we understand the “olfactory ber ants, which are natives of Cen- function, a certain genetically deter- system” that enables the honeybee tral America and closely related to mined meaning must be attributed to reliably recognise every blossom the Central European wood ant, to it (i.e., when the animal smells this of the world? Researchers have pur- were studied. Numerous pheromones scent a particular behaviour is trig- sued two basic ideas: to understand of known chemical composition and gered). This behaviour is context- the processing of scents in the brain, their triggered behaviours have dependent, because a sexually im- the activity they trigger must be been described for these species. mature animal will not react to a sex- measured. And to understand the In insects the olfactory receptors ual pheromone. In the correct con- difference between the processing are primarily located on the anten- text the scent will cause stereotyped of environmental scents and nae. There are around 60,000 recep- behaviour without the animal ever pheromones, species are examined tors on each honeybee antenna. having learned to recognise the that make significant use of These cells are stimulated by vari- 21 german research 1 / 2004 ous scents, which are sent to the glomeruli. To measure the scent able to determine the response pat- brain via long neural appendages, patterns, the scientists first fixed the terns to various scents in each test the axons. The antennal lobe of the animals in a plastic chamber so that animal. First, the characteristics of bee is an organ that is similar to the the head could not move. Then they the patterns produced by the scents human olfactory bulb. It looks cut a window into the head capsule – that is, pheromones and environ- somewhat like a blackberry. Each of so that they could see the brain and mental scents – in both species were its berries constitutes a functional dyed the brain with a pigment that examined. This showed that the unit, a glomerulus. When the animal smells a scent, a characteristic pat- tern of activated glomeruli is gener- ated in the antennal lobe. The olfac- tory information is not located in in- dividual glomeruli, but is based on their pattern as a whole. A combina- tion pattern of this type can code many thousand scents with only a few glomeruli – the bee has about 160. The hypothesis: pheromones should produce a predictable and constant pattern for all individuals of the species, because they are de- termined by evolution. A greater variability should be assumed for environmental scents, because they only become meaningful through experience. Therefore, the same scent should cause differing pat- terns among individuals. With the so-called optical imag- changes its colour when nerve cells coding principle described above is ing method the patterns caused by become active. The researchers the same for both species and both scents in the antennal lobe can be used fluorescent “calcium green” scent classes: each scent produces measured. The antennal lobe is of dye, which reacts to calcium. Active patterns based on several, not nec- varying size in different insect cells increase their intracellular essarily neighbouring glomeruli. Is species: in the bee it has a diameter calcium concentration which causes the variability among individuals of about 0.25 millimetres, with the an increased fluorescence. These larger for environmental scents than individual glomeruli having diame- changes could be measured under for pheromones? To answer this ters between 20 and 50 microme- the microscope with a special cam- question, a measure had to be de- ters. The ants studied have some- era. Since the insects could still veloped. A certain characteristic of 22 what smaller antennal lobes and smell perfectly, the scientists were honeybee glomeruli proved useful: german research 1 / 2004 In a maze of scents a honeybee finds constantly that the causative scent process, the result is unequivocal: its favourite flower. Its blackberry can be identified from them. This re- when the bee is learning a scent, the shaped antennal lobe consists of glomeruli that enclose a common sult applied not only – as anticipated resulting pattern is enhanced, but centre. Certain fragrances stimulate – for pheromones but also for envi- the participating glomeruli remain specific glomeruli. On the left: the ronmental scents that have no sig- the same. In this manner, the bee response to the scent nonanol. On the nificance for communications with- can probably more quickly recog- right: the response to oil of cloves. The in the species. The initial hypothesis nise this scent and better differenti- reaction to different scents, recorded was clearly refuted. But how do ate it from other scents. The “olfac- in sequence for one second, exhibits bees handle the incredible diversity tory system” is structured so that it characteristic patterns. of flower scents? Apparently, the can react to millions of scents, while millions of possible combinations of learned scents are recognised more active glomeruli that result from easily. they differ in size and shape. Some their different response characteris- The results obtained at the insects’ are round while others are elongat- tics are sufficient for orientation in antennal lobe are readily transfer- ed. They are also located in a char- different environments without able to the olfactory lobe of humans. acteristic pattern relative to each having to learn those scents of cur- Both olfactory systems are struc- other. In different animals the rent relevance. tured very similarly and there is evi- glomeruli can be recognised and However, it is known that a mem- dence that scents cause the same ac- named because of their external ory trace for scents is present in the tivity patterns in different humans. characteristics. A digital atlas of the antennal lobe. If a bee is offered a However, the antennal lobe in in- glomeruli was then produced and scent and sugar water, it learns the sects, like the “olfactory bulb” in used to map the scent responses of relationship between scent and re- humans, is only the first station of the honeybee. This made possible ward and, when it smells the scent scent processing. When we, as hu- the numerical recording of the pat- the next time, will extend its pro- mans, are transferred into a mood tern for each scent in each animal. boscis in anticipation of the sugar that we believed long forgotten or For example, the scent nonanol re- water. This is classical conditioning. the odour of spoiled milk deters us sulted in strong activity in glomeruli Several regions in the honeybee's from drinking it, many other regions 17 and 33 in one animal. When com- brain participate in this learning of the brain other than the olfactory pared to other individuals, it turned process, among them the mushroom lobe are also participating. out that this pattern is universal and bodies and also the antennal lobe. If nonanol always stimulates glomeruli the scent-dependent patterns are Dr. Giovanni Galizia 17 and 33. The patterns occur so measured during this learning University of California 23 german research 1 / 2004 Life Sciences Rhesus Monkeys and Reproductive Strategy A male rhesus monkey leaves his birth group to reproduce. On Cayo Santiago, the “Monkey Island” off Puerto Rico, researchers are searching for the gene that controls the primates’ migratory behaviour A t some time during his puber- ty a rhesus monkey lad will roam – as the German poet Friedrich Schiller put it in his fa- mous “Song of the Bell” – “into life so wild”. He leaves the shelter of his birth group and seeks contact to an- other group. For lack of a better al- ternative he may even temporarily engage in a pure male bond. But soon the adolescent rhesus monkey notices that females of other groups are very interested in young foreign males. That is the positive aspect of a process known in behavioural bi- rhesus monkeys live there in several ology as “natal dispersal”: emigra- social groups. tion from the birth group with the It was demonstrated that high- objective of reproduction. The ranking males in a social group – downside is that the young men put though particularly sexually active – themselves into great danger while by no means produce the majority “traversing their world” (Friedrich of offspring. Rather, the offspring Schiller). In the first year after leav- mostly descended from low-ranking ing the birth group, 20 to 40 percent rhesus monkey males who had at- of male rhesus monkeys succumb in tempted to join the new group dur- their struggle to survive. ing emigration from their birth By using molecular genetic meth- groups. This demonstrated that ods for paternity analysis it was re- natal dispersal serves to avoid in- vealed that emigration from the breeding and maintain the genetic birth group actually fulfils a biologi- flow. To pursue such high level Young males in the rhesus monkey colony on the Caribbean island of Cayo Santiago cal purpose. On the “Monkey goals, however, evolution requires usually seek to join another group. This Island” of Cayo Santiago, located an instrument that can be applied to means life-threatening risks but also the half a nautical mile east of Puerto each individual. The fact that almost prospect of a large number of offspring. Rico, we examined which offspring all advanced mammals and many was descended from high-ranking bird species migrate to reproduce males in one social group and which raises the question of what forces from low-ranking immigrant males. cause the animals to do so. For ge- siderably: some start looking for a The “Monkey Island” is part of the neticists it seemed obvious to look new group at the age of three, but Caribbean Primate Research Cen- for an answer in the genes. others much later. At the age of six ter, with which we have been close- Observations by primatologists years about 90 percent of all males ly cooperating since 1988. The rhe- aided the search for the gene that had left their birth group. Several sus monkey colony on Cayo Santia- controls emigration from the birth groups of researchers also discov- go was established by the American group. They noted that the time ered that the serotonin level (sero- zoologist Clarence Ray Carpenter in when young rhesus monkey males tonin is a neurotransmitter) in the 24 1938. Today about one thousand leave their birth group varies con- monkeys’ cerebral fluid correlates german research 1 / 2004 with the age at which the monkeys terised by anxiety and depression. tion age of 532 male rhesus mon- leave their birth group. This depen- The short variant of the controlling keys born between 1970 and 1997 dency of migrating age on the sero- element causes only about half as on the “Monkey Island” of Cayo tonin level directed attention to the many serotonin transporters to be Santiago. It was already known at genes that play a role in the sero- formed as the long variant. which age these animals had left tonin metabolism. Of particular in- The short variant is also found in their birth group. Comparison with terest in this context was the gene rhesus monkeys. On the “Monkey the recorded genetic data revealed SLC6A4, responsible for the sero- Island” of Cayo Santiago about 8 a clear link between the genetic tonin transporter. percent of all animals are homozy- variants and the emigration age: ho- In 1996 Klaus-Peter Lesch’s gous for the short variant (ss – for mozygous ss males left their group working group at the University of homozygous “small”), 52 percent at an average age of 57 months, Würzburg discovered that the short are homozygous for the long variant while homozygous ll males were, on variant of the controlling element of (ll – for homozygous “large”) and average, 72 months old upon emi- this gene, the SLC6A4 promoter, is the remaining 40 percent are het- gration. The average emigration associated with neuroticism in hu- erozygous (ls). We examined the ef- age of heterozygous ls animals was mans, a personality trait charac- fect of these variants on the emigra- intermediate at 64 months. For the 25 Life Sciences The Fight against first time it was possible to demon- strate a link between a genetic and a behavioural characteristic in non- human primates. The long variant causes rhesus monkeys to detach from their birth group later. Male rhesus monkeys thus pursue two different reproductive strategies: Retroviruses homozygous ss males who emigrate early take a significant risk of dying A gene therapeutic approach for treating viral infections during their struggle to survive out- side the birth group (20 percent), places its bets on incorporated enzymes destroying virus but are rewarded with special re- particles from within ceptiveness by the females of the new group. Homozygous ll males who emigrate late initially incur a T lower risk by remaining with the he immune deficiency disease suggested by the virologist David birth group for longer and also pro- AIDS which continues to Baltimore in 1988. In a general strat- creating there. If they subsequently spread worldwide is caused by egy called intracellular immunisa- decide to emigrate from their birth a member of the retrovirus family. tion, genes encoding macromole- group, however, they take an espe- „Retrovirus“ is the name given to a cules that interfere with viral multi- cially high risk of mortality during large group of diverse viruses plication are introduced into virus- their struggle for survival (40 per- whose genetic information is stored susceptible cells. Although very cent). We therefore put forward the in RNA molecules. In a retrovirus- promising results against HIV infec- hypothesis that heterozygous males infected cell, a DNA copy of the tions have been achieved in cell cul- have a selection advantage over ho- viral RNA is produced and then in- ture and in animal models by em- mozygous males. serted into the host cell’s genome. ploying these strategies, viruses If this theory were right heterozy- Since this is a reversal of the usual emerged that were able to escape gous males should have produced information flow from DNA to RNA, inactivation by foreign macromole- significantly more offspring than the term „retro“-virus was coined. cules through mutation. homozygous ones. However, the re- Retroviral infections cause diseases A project developed at the Johns sults of our ongoing paternity analy- in humans, which are often fatal. Hopkins University School of Medi- sis on the “Monkey Island” of Cayo One of the aggressive retroviruses is cine in Baltimore (Maryland, USA) Santiago did not confirm this expec- the human immunodeficiency virus and concluded at the Heinrich Pette tation. There was no difference be- (HIV), the agent responsible for the Institute for Experimental Virology tween the average reproductive aquired immune deficiency syn- and Immunology at the University success of heterozygous and ho- drome, AIDS. Retroviral infections, of Hamburg describes a new strate- mozygous males. Apparently nature especially HIV infections, pose a gy of intracellular immunisation and is pursuing a different strategy than tremendous challenge in biomed- demonstrates proof-of-principle of the classical heterozygote advan- ical research. this strategy in an animal model. tage to secure the preservation of In recent years, remarkable A strength of the CTVI strategy is the serotonin transporter gene vari- progress has been made in develop- that it is designed to target a step in ant we examined. In our current re- ing effective combination drug ther- the viral life cycle that is different search we are attempting to eluci- apies that can control, but not cure, from those targeted by most other date this strategy. It is as yet uncer- retroviral replication. However, current anti-HIV gene therapy ap- tain how the differences in the gene even when effective, these drug proaches. Therefore CTVI gives under consideration affect person- regimens are toxic, they require de- cause for hope that new treatment ality and behaviour. It is conceiv- manding administration schedules, methods for this disease which able that the formation of serotonin and resistant viruses can emerge. remains incurable will be found. transporters affects the serotonin Thus the need for new gene-based The concept of the CTVI strategy level in the cerebral fluid. However, therapies remains. A novel gene was originally developed in Jef an effect on prenatal brain develop- therapeutic approach against retro- D. Boeke’s laboratory at the Johns ment is more probable. viral infections, called „Capsid-Tar- Hopkins University. By using the geted Viral Inactivation“ (CTVI) is yeast retrotransposon Ty1, a mobile Prof. Dr. Jörg Schmidtke showing the first signs of success in genetic element whose transposi- Medizinische Hochschule Hannover an animal model, promising new ef- tion mechanistically resembles Dr. Peter Nürnberg ficient alternatives for the treatment retroviral multiplication, this ap- Max-Delbrück-Centrum für of these viral infections in humans. proach was tested for the first time Molekulare Medizin Berlin-Buch The use of gene therapy in the as a novel means to interfere with Prof. Dr. Michael Krawczak treatment of viral infections is a rel- viral replication. The strategy was 26 Universität Kiel atively new concept and was first shown to inhibit transposition of the german research 1 / 2004 retrotransposon by at strategy, it was first least 98 %. In this ap- attempted to deacti- proach antiviral nu- vate a murine retro- cleases (enzymes de- virus causing leukae- grading molecules mia (Murine Leukae- that carry genetic in- mia Virus, MuLV) in formation) are fused cell culture experi- to the viral coat pro- ments. The nucleases teins forming the cap- to be tested for their sid, which surrounds antiviral efficiency the viral genome. were selected for not The process of having a destructive retroviral particle for- effect on the host cell. mation makes the in- In cooperation with corporation of delete- the virologist Mark rious proteins into the Federspiel of the retroviral capsid rela- Mayo Clinic in tively easy. After co- Rochester (Minnesota, packaging of the viral USA), we demonstrat- genome with the ed that the selected deleterious nuclease nucleases did indeed fusion inside, the core of the assembled virus particle, the deleteri- ous nuclease inter- Africa is particularly feres with viral multi- hard hit by the AIDS plication by both epidemic. A destructive degrading the viral enzyme – antiviral genome and inhibiting nuclease – may help. It is incorporated into the viral protein activity. retrovirus particle and To test the feasi- blocks the viral bility and efficiency of production by breaking this new antiviral down the viral genome. 27 inactivate all infectious virus parti- the Johns Hopkins University in The demonstration of CTVI cles in cell cultures infected with Baltimore. The antiviral proteins applicability in an animal model MuLV. The virologists Beatrice were shown to have no harmful ef- presents a multitude of perspec- Hahn and John Kappes at the Uni- fect on the mice, but rather protect tives: In order to make animals re- versity of Alabama at Birmingham MuLV-producing mice, which nor- sistant, or at least less susceptible, to used these results to conduct analo- mally develop certain kinds of blood retroviral infections the methods de- gous experiments in which the suc- cancer (lymaphatic leukaemia). In scribed here could readily be used cessfully tested nucleases were ex- transgenic mice producing the an- to construct improved versions of pressed in cell lines infected with tiviral fusion protein, the number of farm animals that currently suffer the AIDS retrovirus. The results of infectious particles was reduced by from retroviral diseases, including these experiments were promising up to 10-fold, which considerably chickens (avian leukosis virus), delayed the development of goats (caprine arthritis-encephalitis leukaemia and resulted in in- virus), sheep (Maedi/Visna virus), In genetically modified mice carrying creased longevity in these animals cattle (bovine leukemia virus), and the antiviral fusion protein, the liver's when compared to their normal, horses (equine infectious anemia affliction by tumour cells was either MuLV-infected siblings lacking the virus). strongly reduced or – as demonstrated antiviral fusion protein. It could be However, the greatest challenge in the two images on the left – can not be observed at all. In contrast, the demonstrated that the fusion pro- is still posed by human retroviruses images on the right show extended teins were incorporated into the such as HIV and the leukaemia- tumour cells in the liver tissue of virus particles of retrovirus-infected causing HTLV-1 (Human T-cell unmodified mice. mice inactivating the viruses. Leukaemia Virus 1). Short of germ line gene therapy, targeting a ma- jority of virus-infected cells by a so- matic gene therapeutic approach would be necessary for a robust an- tiviral effect. The results indicate that even relatively modest decreas- es in retroviral titers in vivo can lead to significant improvements in clini- cal outcomes. In transgenic mice this took the form of delayed leukaemia development and in- creased life expectancy. Since the quantity of viruses present in HIV patients correlates closely to the dis- ease’s progress, a two- to tenfold re- duction of infectious viruses, as ob- served in mice, would have a signif- icant positive effect on the course of the disease and would also improve the patients’ quality of life. Building on our research the vi- rologists Gertrud Beterams and Michael Nassal at the Albert Lud- wig University in Freiburg have re- cently succeeded in employing this antiviral strategy against the he- patitis B virus (HBV), which infects since the number of infectious virus Therefore, the mouse model indi- humans. By targeting a degradative particles released by the infected cates that the antiviral CTVI strate- nuclease into viral particles the cells was reduced by 88 to 99 per- gy is not only efficient in tissue cul- number of infectious hepatitis B cent. Since the results of such cell ture but could also provide substan- particles in cell cultures was re- culture experiments cannot readily tial therapeutic benefits in vivo. By duced by 95 percent. be transferred to living organisms, altering several factors, it will be- Thus capsid-targeted strategies testing of these strategies in living come possible to significantly en- continue to provide a promising ap- organisms (in vivo) is indispensable. hance the antiviral effectiveness. proach for therapy against a variety Transgenic mice producing fu- The results suggest that employing of viruses that affect humans, direct- sions of the MuLV capsid protein gene therapeutic approaches based ly and indirectly. and the antiviral nuclease (fusion on similar fusion proteins to fight protein) in their cells were specifi- HIV and other retroviruses could be PD Dr. Gerald G. Schumann 28 cally bred for these experiments at of major therapeutic benefit. Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Langen german research 1 / 2004 The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Authors’ Addresses Dipl.-Phys. Georg Bison The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is the Prof. Dr. Antoine Weis central self-governing organisation responsible for promoting research in Germany. Physik-Department, Universität Fribourg, According to its statutes, the DFG serves all branches of science and the humanities. Chemin du Musée 3, CH-1700 Fribourg The DFG supports and coordinates research projects in all scientific disciplines, in par- Prof. Dr. Johannes Dichgans ticular in the area of basic research through to applied research. Particular attention is Zentrum für Neurologie, paid to promoting young researchers. Every German scientist and academic is eligible Universitätsklinikum Tübingen, to apply for DFG funding. Proposals are submitted to peer reviewers, who are elected Hoppe-Seyler-Straße 3, D-72076 Tübingen by researchers in Germany in their individual subject areas every four years. Ph. D. C. Giovanni Galizia The DFG distinguishes between the following programmes for research funding: In the Dept. of Entomology, Room 383, University Individual Grants Programme, any researcher can apply for financial assistance for an of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA individual research project. Priority Programmes allow researchers from various re- Prof. Dr. Michael Krawczak search institutions and laboratories to cooperate within the framework of a set topic or Institut für Medizinische Informatik und project for a defined period of time, each working at his/her respective research institu- Statistik, Universität Kiel, tion. A Research Unit is a longer-term collaboration between several researchers who Brunswiker Straße 10, D-24105 Kiel generally work together on a research topic at a single location. In Central Research Fa- cilities there is a particular concentration of personnel and equipment that is required to Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Otto L. Lange Julius-von-Sachs-Institut für Biowissen- provide scientific and technical services. schaften, Lehrstuhl für Botanik II, Univer- Collaborative Research Centres are long-term university research centres in which sci- sität Würzburg, Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 3, entists and academics pursue ambitious joint interdisciplinary research undertakings. D-97082 Würzburg They are generally established for a period of 12 years. In addition to the classic Collab- Dipl.-Ing. Marcell Meuser orative Research Centres, which are concentrated at one location and open to all subject Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hubertus Murrenhoff areas, the DFG also offers several programme variations. Transregional Collaborative Institut für fluidtechnische Antriebe und Research Centres allow various locations to cooperate on one topical focus. Cultural Steuerungen, RWTH Aachen, Steinbach- Studies Research Centres are designed to support the transition in the humanities to an straße 53, D-52074 Aachen integrated cultural studies paradigm. Transfer Units serve to transfer the findings of Dr. Peter Nürnberg basic research produced by Collaborative Research Centres into the realm of practical Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare application by promoting cooperation between research institutes and users. Medizin Berlin-Buch, DFG Research Centres are an important strategic funding instrument. They concentrate Robert-Rössle-Straße 10, D-13092 Berlin scientific research competence in particularly innovative fields and create temporary, Dr. Armin Schlechter internationally visible research priorities at research universities. Dr. Karin Zimmermann Research Training Groups are university training programmes established for a specific Dr. Matthias Miller time period to support young researchers by actively involving them in research work. Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, This focuses on a coherent, topically defined, research and study programme. Research Plöck 107-109, D-69117 Heidelberg Training Groups are designed to promote the early independence of doctoral students Prof. Dr.-Ing. Günther Schmidt and intensify international exchange. They are open to international participants. In In- Lehrstuhl für Steuerungs- und Regelungs- ternational Research Training Groups, a jointly structured doctoral programme is of- technik, Technische Universität München, fered by German and foreign universities. Theresienstraße 90, D-80333 München Other funding opportunities for qualified young researchers are offered by the Heisen- Prof. Dr. Jörg Schmidtke berg Programme and the Emmy Noether Programme. Institut für Humangenetik, Medizinische Humanities Research Centres were created in the new federal states to improve the ex- Hochschule Hannover, Carl-Neuberg- Straße 1, D-30625 Hannover isting research infrastructure. These centres have been established for a specific time period and serve to promote interdisciplinary research. PD Dr. Gerald G. Schumann The DFG also funds and initiates measures to promote scientific libraries, equips com- Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, Bundesamt für Sera und Impfstoffe, Paul-Ehrlich-Straße 51-59, puter centres with computing hardware, provides instrumentation for research purpos- D-63225 Langen es and conducts peer reviews on proposals submitted within the framework of the Hochschulbauförderungsgesetz, a legal act which provides for major equipment and PD Dr. Robert Wynands the construction of institutions of higher education in Germany. On an international Abt. 4.41, level, the DFG has assumed the role of Scientific Representative to international organ- Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, isations, coordinates and funds the German contribution towards large-scale interna- Bundesallee 100, D-38116 Braunschweig tional research programmes, and supports international scientific relations. Another important role of the DFG is to provide policy advice to parliaments and public authorities on scientific issues. A large number of expert commissions and committees Illustrations provide the scientific background for the passing of new legislation, primarily in the areas of environmental protection and health care. Querbach (p. 2, back); Wynands (p. 4); Bramaz/Schweizerischer Nationalfonds The legal status of the DFG is that of a private association. Its member organisations in- (p. 5); Kron/Kammermeier (p. 6, 7); clude research universities, the Academies of Sciences and Humanities, the Max Nitzsche (p. 8); IFAS (p. 9, 10); archives Planck Society, the Fraunhofer Society, the Leibniz Association, the Helmholtz Associa- (p. 11); Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg tion of National Research Centres, research organisations of general importance, and a (cover, p. 12, 13, 14, 15); Lange (p. 16, 17, number of scientific associations. In order to meet its responsibilities, the DFG receives 18, 19, 20); Galizia (p. 21, 22, 23); funding from the German federal government and the federal states, as well as an an- Schmidtke (p. 24); Rawlins (p. 25); Wong nual contribution from the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Hu- (p. 27 a.); dpa (p. 27 b.); Schumann (p. 28) manities in Germany. Layout of pictures: l. = left, r. = right, a. = above, b. = below 29 german research 1 / 2004 www.dfg.de S port keeps you fit. This applies to the staff at the DFG Head Office too. For over five years the DFG sports club has of- fered a varied fitness programme. Be it in football or volleyball, whether in gymnastics or athletics – it is impossible to overlook the success of their efforts. The cups and certificates that have been won for various competitions vie for space in this show-case.