Repeated evolution in sticklebacks, and adjacent possibles

“Researchers have documented repeated evolution in other organisms, but the sticklebacks are unique because the freshwater transition has occurred so many times. “Sticklebacks have been a phenomenal system for understanding rapid evolution,” says evolutionary biologist Erica Bree Rosenblum of the University of California, Berkeley, who wasn’t involved in the study. “This paper shows that repeated […]

Patterns of Gene Flow Define Species of Thermophilic Archaea: PLoS Biology

“Patterns of homologous gene flow among genomes of 12 strains from a single hot spring in Kamchatka, Russia, demonstrate higher levels of gene flow within than between two persistent, coexisting groups, demonstrating that these microorganisms fit the biological species concept. Furthermore, rates of gene flow between two species are decreasing over time in a manner […]

PLoS Genetics: Identification of Widespread Ultra-Edited Human RNAs

“The traditional view of mRNA as a pure intermediate between DNA and protein has changed in the last decades since the discovery of numerous RNA processing pathways. A frequent RNA modification is A-to-I editing, or the conversion of adenosine (A) to inosine (I).” Hah. One more inflection point in the complexity of molecular biology. I […]

Superbugs Predate Wonder Drugs – ScienceNOW

“It’s a “carefully done study,” adds George Church, a geneticist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Non-scientists (and even scientists) forget how important it is to confirm ideas that are widely accepted,” he writes in an e-mail. Church’s only gripe is that the samples were 30,000 years old, even though antibiotic resistance genes […]

Is Evolution Predictable? – ScienceNOW

“Fifty to 100 genes affect whether a worm enters the dauer state. In theory, deletions on any of them could keep worms from becoming dauer larvae. But many of these genes affect several aspects of the animal’s development and physiology, whereas the pheromone receptors simply sense the environment and thus can be lost harmlessly, Bargmann […]

Ancient DNA reveals secrets of human history : Nature News

“The past months have seen a swathe of discoveries, from details about when Neanderthals and humans interbred, to the important disease-fighting genes that humans now have as a result of those trysts.” Really nice article on the state of ancient DNA genomics. Really interesting and makes me imagine what the world was like with other […]

Gut bacteria in Japanese people borrowed sushi-digesting genes from ocean bacteria | Discover Magazine

“Nori is, by far, the most likely source of bacteria with porphyran-digesting genes. It’s the only food that humans eat that contains any porphyrans and until recently, Japanese chefs didn’t cook nori before eating it. Any bacteria that lingered on the green fronds weren’t killed before they could mingle with gut bacteria like B.plebius. Ruth […]

Language May Have Helped Early Humans Spread Out of Africa – ScienceNOW

“The story of humanity’s prehistoric expansion across the planet is recorded in our genes. And, apparently, the story of the spread of language is hidden in the sounds of our words. That’s the finding of a new study, which concludes that both people and languages spread out from an African homeland by a similar process—and […]

Researchers Challenge E. O. Wilson Over Evolutionary Theory – ScienceInsider

“Nowak is convinced that his critics haven’t really done inclusive fitness calculations or they would understand the theory’s limitations. … To him, the letters “are the reactions of people who are clinging to an obsolete theory.” “Raghavendra Gadagkar, an evolutionary biologist at the Centre for Ecological Sciences of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, supports […]

Biology’s ‘dark matter’ hints at fourth domain of life – New Scientist

Microbial geneticists found some really divergent sequences in ocean microbes collected on the Sorcerer II study by Venter and gang. One possible thought is that these microbes are a whole new branch of life. Interesting. [via @microbeworld] Bookmarked in Delicious. Read this article…