evolgen

Archives for July, 2007

Language Log is Stealing My Business

Mark Liberman at Language Log has been posting on genetics recently. A couple of days ago he tried to track down the origins of the components of the gene name BTBD9. The letters and numbers in the name stand for complex-tramtrack-bric-a-brac-domain 9, which are hijacked from Drosophila nomenclature. Liberman then tries to figure out the…

Bill Hooker has taken Nature editor Maxine Clark to task for her claims about the open access status of the online features offered by the Nature Publishing Group. Maxine points to the various free online services offered by Nature — including Nature Precedings, Nature Reports, Nature Network, Scintilla, and the journal Molecular Systems Biology —…

Score One for the Lumpers

Remember that new species of leopard that was “discovered” earlier this year? Well, it wasn’t really discovered so much as recategorized as a unique species (it was originally discovered in the early nineteenth century). That’s a picture of it on the right if you don’t remember. Anyway, there’s an Editorial in PLoS Biology arguing that…

The Frailty of Nearly Neutral Hypotheses

Mike Lynch has been getting a fair bit of hype recently for his nearly neutral model of genome evolution (see here and here). The nearly neutral theory riffs off the idea that the ability of natural selection to purge deleterious mutations and fix advantageous mutations depends on the effective population size of the population in…

Junk on Junk

I’ve recently come across two articles on junk DNA. The first one, from New Scientist, includes a pretty thorough coverage of recent studies that have identified functions for non-protein-coding regions of the human genome (“Why ‘junk DNA’ may be useful after all”). The article is set up as if it will present the demise of…

Evolutionary Biology and Human Health

The American Institute of Biological Sciences has posted talks from their meeting on Evolutionary Biology and Human Health. Not only have they provided audio and video of the talks, but there are also transcripts and slides that go along with the talks. Very cool.

Looking for Darwin with a Bad Pair of Eyes

Bad tests for natural selection are bad at detecting selection. Austin Hughes has published a fairly critical review of some methods used to detect natural selection in protein coding sequences. His attack on current methods for detecting natural selection is threefold. First, he claims that comparing non-synonymous to synonymous substitutions (see here) does not allow…

I’ve got Math and CS Envy

Dave wants to know whether we biologists have physics envy, as the physicists often claim. I’m quite happy being a biologist and I wouldn’t want to study physics, but there are certain skill sets I wish I had. My envy is not for the questions other fields address, but for the tools other people in…

Evo-Devo Revisited

I thought I had come to grips with evo-devo. Then along come Hopi Hoekstra and Jerry Coyne to call shenanigans on Sean Carroll’s model of evo-devo. This is nothing new for Coyne, but I can’t recall Hoekstra ever getting involved in the debate before now. Before we get to Hoekstra and Coyne, let’s allow Carroll…

Eight Things to Hate about Me

I’m fucking sick of blog memes. Not only do I find online surveys totally lame, I also never get tagged. Boohoo, nobody likes me. Now, John Logsdon orders me to tell you eight things about me. I’m only doing this ’cause we had dinner together last week. Here are the rules: We have to post…