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Category archives for Biology

Moran with More on Aldolase

My series on using computational tools to study molecular evolution [Publishing Original Research on Blogs] has focused on the evolution of the aldolase gene family in Drosophila. When I described the Backstory, I left out a lot of details regarding the biochemistry of glycolysis. Well, Larry Moran happens to be a biochemist — he’s even…

Sex in the Fourth Dimension

Most of us are so used to the male+female=baby system of reproduction that we practice that it doesn’t even occur to us that there are other options. Sure, there’s the occasional instance of parthenogenesis in some megafaunal species, but that seems like the exception rather than the norm. And we do recognize that a lot…

Francisco Ayala is a Macro-phyle

Or is he micro-phobe? Nature Genetics has published a mostly positive review of the new Evolution textbook by Nick Barton and others (the others include blogger Jonathan Eisen) The review is penned by Francisco Ayala. Among the things Ayala brings up is the coverage various taxa receive: Surprisingly, however, five of the nine chapters of…

Family Values

I’m sure by now you’ve heard of the ginormous spider web that was spun in Texas. The thing was huge — 200 yards long — and it was spun by multiple different species. That interspecific collaboration got Bill Poser thinking, so he blogged about it at Language Log: The web covers hundreds of square meters.…

Wheel Bugs

As I was making my way back from a seminar on skin color genetics yesterday, I noticed a couple of bugs perched on the outer wall of my building. This wouldn’t be a blog worthy moment, except that the bugs were huge . . . and in mid coitus. I hurried inside and ran upstairs…

That Crab Has Flies

Among my many pet peeves are when people refer to Drosophila as fruit flies (they are not). Real fruit flies (Tephritids) feed, mate, and lay their eggs on live fruit — for this reason, many are agricultural pests (e.g., the medfly). Drosophila, on the other hand, feed on the micro-organisms found primarily on rotting fruit…

Promoting Intelligence

A new article in Nature Genetics brings together two themes that I’ve blogged about before: human brains and King and Wilson. In fact, I’ve even already blogged about the article, but this post contains a more thorough treatment of the science. The long and short of it is that some people think that differences in…

Peter Lawrence has an opinion piece in Current Biology on the problems with evaluating scientists, amongst other things. He hits upon a few important points, including journal impact factors, the cost of high risk research, hyping up publications, and networking with the right people to improve your publications. One passage was quite salient given a…

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…

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.