A Few Links for Your Sunday

Here is some light reading for your Sunday:

  • Mosquitoes sing to each other by flapping their wings. This paper reports sexually dimorphic responses to wing beat patterns in mosquitoes (PZ Myers has a good review). This leads me to wonder whether we can study intra- and inter-specific differences in flight behavior and response, which then gets me wondering whether we can find QTLs responsible for these differences. And (this should come as no surprise to those who know me) I also wonder whether these QTLs will map to within inversions for sympatric species pairs more so that allopatric species pairs.

  • Via Afarensis comes this review of molecular dating of the Cambrian Explosion (see here for some background). We need to keep in mind that the Cambrian Explosion describes the sudden appearance of many new body forms in the fossil record. Molecular estimates of divergence times may predate the fossil estimates if the taxa diverged prior to the morphological differentiation. Also, neither estimate is infallible; the fossil record depends on whether the body forms can and do fossilize and we find the fossils, and molecular dating depends on our assumptions about rates of evolution along different lineages and relies on the fossil record for divergence times. The data I’ve seen seem to suggest that the lineages that morphologically differentiated during the Cambrian Explosion actually diverged long before the morphological differentiation.

  • I mentioned that the most cost effective genome sequencing strategy may be a hybrid between Sanger sequencing and the 454 technology. But where does the money come from? Nobel Intent has a post up on why the Department of Energy is a big player in genomics.