Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species was published 150 years ago today, and it continues to inform, illuminate, and stir up controversy. Of course, some tortoises live longer than that, but Darwin’s lasting legacy seems assured. On Gene Expression, Razib Khan tackles a study on the Fore, a cannibalistic people who ate their dead up until 1960. This diet left an imprint on their genes: a deadly prion-caused illness called Kuru led to selection against homozygosity in key alleles. Elsewhere, ERV explores invasive species and their fitness versus native species when both are infected with the same pathogen. In the case of Northern California grasses, although the native perennials are more fit than the invasive annuals, the pathogen hits the natives harder, and so the invaders become more successful. Finally, James Hrynyshyn on The Island of Doubt reviews a new coffee-table book on Darwin that “tells us at least as much about Darwin the man as it does his revolutionary idea.” Get one now, as Hrynyshyn suggests oversize books may be a dying species.
Links below the fold.
- Cannibalism & evolution on Gene Expression
- Viruses and invasive species: I get sick, but you get sicker, sucker on ERV
- And now we turn to the topic of Artificial Intelligence … on Collective Imagination
- The Ultimate Charles Darwin Coffee-Table Book on The Island of Doubt