Evolution

Gene Expression

Category archives for Evolution

The tales that the X chromosome tells

Highly Punctuated Patterns of Population Structure on the X Chromosome and Implications for African Evolutionary History: It is well known that average levels of population structure are higher on the X chromosome compared to autosomes in humans. However, there have been surprisingly few analyses on the spatial distribution of population structure along the X chromosome.…

Hobbits small brains not so anomolous

Is the Hobbit’s Brain Unfeasibly Small?: Brain expansion began early in primate evolution and has occurred in all major groups, suggesting a strong selective advantage to increased brainpower in most primate lineages. Despite this overall trend, however, Mundy and his colleagues have identified several branches/lineages within each major group that have shown decreasing brain and…

The last Iberian Neandertal

The debates about the timing of the extinction of the last Neandertals in Iberia seem to one of those interminable disagreements around which paleoanthropologists can’t ever reach a resolution. Another offering from PLoS ONE, Pego do Diabo (Loures, Portugal): Dating the Emergence of Anatomical Modernity in Westernmost Eurasia: Methodology/Principal Findings Using AMS radiocarbon and advanced…

In Bats and Whales, Convergence in Echolocation Ability Runs Deep: …”However, it is generally assumed that most of these so-called convergent traits have arisen by different genes or different mutations. Our study shows that a complex trait — echolocation — has in fact evolved by identical genetic changes in bats and dolphins.” A hearing gene…

Rice, alcohol and genes

Changes in human diet driven by cultural evolution seem to be at the root of many relatively recently emerged patterns of genetic variation. In particular, lactase persistence and varied production of amylase are two well known cases. Both of these new evolutionary genetic developments are responses to the shift toward carbohydrates over the last 10,000…

Creation opens this week

Creation, the Charles Darwin biopic, is opening in a few large cities tomorrow.

Dogs adapting to urban ecologies

A friend pointed me to this fascinating article about stray dogs in Moscow: … It has become a symbol for the 35,000 stray dogs that roam Russia’s capital – about 84 dogs per square mile. You see them everywhere. They lie around in the courtyards of apartment complexes, wander near markets and kiosks, and sleep…

What average human heights don’t tell

The changing height of Homo erectus: Today, I think it’s fair to say that the variation of stature in Homo erectus was more or less like the variation within living people. There are short and tall populations today, varied in ecology and latitude. The average stature of young men in the Netherlands today is 184…

Dental maturational sequence and dental tissue proportions in the early Upper Paleolithic child from Abrigo do Lagar Velho, Portugal: Neandertals differ from recent and terminal Pleistocene human populations in their patterns of dental development, endostructural (internal structure) organization, and relative tissue proportions. Although significant changes in craniofacial and postcranial morphology have been found between the…

Fungus adapts fast…at first

The Properties of Adaptive Walks in Evolving Populations of Fungus: The rarity of beneficial mutations has frustrated efforts to develop a quantitative theory of adaptation. Recent models of adaptive walks, the sequential substitution of beneficial mutations by selection, make two compelling predictions: adaptive walks should be short, and fitness increases should become exponentially smaller as…