evolgen

Archives for April, 2007

Adaptive Evolution in Apes

Over at GNXP, Razib has posted a few links to papers concerning adaptive evolution (aka, positive selection or Darwinian selection) in humans and chimps. He’s been following the coverage of this paper from George Zhang’s group which provides evidence that more genes have been under positive selection along the chimpanzee lineage than the human lineage.…

The boys at Deep Sea News are wrapping up their Megavertebrate Week in which they profile various charismatic animals with backbones that live in the sea (including seals). Go check out their site for other cool pictures and stories about swimming with sharks. For those of you who like spotting critters in the field, Jeremy…

Scientific Controversies

It seems like everything is coming in twos the past couple of days. Yesterday we mentioned two books on the evolution of genomes and two stories involving either Wolbachia or sex determination. Today, we have two stories involving criticisms of scientific papers. One deals with the evolution of the bacterial flagellum, and the other addresses…

Wolbachia and Sex Determination

There are two cool articles on two related topics, but the articles themselves don’t deal with the area in which these topic overlap. Confused? Here’s a quick description of the two articles: One article is on the change in fecundity cost of Wolbachia infections in a population of Drosophila simulans. Wolbachia are bacterial symbionts which…

Two Books on the Evolution of Genomes

Oxford University Press will be releasing a new book in June entitled Darwinian Detectives: Revealing the Natural History of Genes and Genomes. From the OUP description of the book: Molecular scientists exploring newly sequenced genomes have stumbled upon quite a few surprises, including that only one to ten percent of the genetic material of animals…

Flying in a Confined Space

On yesterday’s episode of Mythbusters they tested the myth that birds in a trailer decrease the weight of the trailer when the birds take flight. The ‘busters put a bunch of birds into a trailer, weighed the trailer + birds, and then allowed the birds to fly in the trailer, measuring the weight every fraction…

Dan Hartl’s Inaugural PNAS Article

Dan Hartl was inducted into the National Academy of Sciences of the USA in 2005 for his contributions to the field of evolutionary genetics. His inaugural article as an Academy member was published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS, pronounce pee-nas, hehe). Hartl and colleagues compared levels of polymorphism…

Drunk Doggy

Two unemployed stem cell researchers have performed a pilot study indicating that the chief researcher’s dog likes beer (reported here). They noticed that erratic behavior tended to increase with beer consumption, but his tolerance did increase over the course of the experiment. The dog also preferred certain beers over others, although the researchers did not…

Recent Stuff

A lot of interesting evolutionary genetics research gets published, and I don’t have time to write an insightful commentary on all of it (some may argue that I have never written an insightful commentary on anything). Here’s a brief overview of the stuff I have missed in the past few weeks: A population of sheep…

Autistic Aberrations

Two recent papers have been published that both deal with chromosomal aberrations and autism. One paper reports de novo copy number mutations associated with some cases of autism. These are copy number polymorphisms not present in either parent; the mutation arises in the parental germ line, although, I believe it is also possible the mutation…