Evolution Update

Evolution Update

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Why Do Those Flowers Look like Bugs? Or, on the Evolution of Orchids.
A large group of flowering plants, commonly known as Orchids, often have flowers whose shape coincides with that of their insect pollinators. Recent research has shown how this uncanny flower morphology is guided by evolutionary selection.

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How Plants Maintain a Low-Sodium Diet Without Advice from Their Doctors
Salt tolerance is a critical stress response in many plants and is controlled by a wide variety of interacting genes. Researchers studying sodium transporters in trees from high-salinity environments have characterized the evolution of these genes and determined that they are under strong positive selection in salty soils.

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Evolutionary History of a Widespread, Recently Diverged Antioxidant Enzyme in a Pig Pathogen
Peroxiredoxins are proteins conserved across all domains of life that protect cells against the threat of reactive oxygen species. Researchers have recently characterized the evolutionary history of an essential peroxiredoxin gene from a common livestock pathogen.

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A New Class of Antibiotics Less Susceptible to Evolutionary-Driven Resistance Development
Pathogenic bacteria are evolving resistance to our antibiotics at an alarming rate, however, scientists have recently discovered a molecule that may help combat these microscopic killers.

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Human-Induced Evolution of City-Slicker Moths
Researchers have measured decreased flight-to-light responses in moths from urban areas with historically high light pollution. This direct example of Darwinian selection could be hurting the ecological role of moths as pollinators and food sources.

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The enemy of my enemy evolves into my friend
Researchers have provided the first direct evidence of a mildly pathogenic microorganism evolving to defend its host from a more pathogenic invader. Their research indicates a potential pathway for evolution towards host-microbe mutualism.

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Why Do Whales See Differently than Their Terrestrial Ancestors?
Researchers armed with the killer whale genome have discovered the molecular mechanism behind these organisms’ evolutionary adaptation to underwater vision.

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Researchers Suggest That the Introduction of Farming Brought About Changes in Human Genome
An analysis of ancient human DNA by scientists tracked the changes in DNA from when humans transitioned from a hunter-gatherer species to a farming one. The findings show that changes in diet, in addition to the new habitat landscapes, are associated with genes that account for height, vitamin D levels, and others.

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How Powdery Mildew Fungus Evolved to Infect an Artificially Created Cereal Grain
50 years ago, scientists created a wheat-rye hybrid prized for its resistance to the pathogenic powdery mildew fungus. At the turn of the century, however, wild fungus began to efficiently infect the crop, and researchers have recently uncovered its evolutionary feat.

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Out of Africa – Face Mite Edition
Researchers surveying mites living on the faces of a diverse set of human hosts have found that these ancient symbionts evolved alongside us since our migration out of Africa and have adapted to live on people from specific geographic regions.

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Scientists Identify Pheromones That Elicits Sexual Response in Male Mice
Researchers develop a new technique that allowed them to elucidate the structure of two chemicals in female urine that were responsible for sexual interest and behaviour in male mice.

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Surprising Evidence for the Ancient Origin of Modern Peaches
The recent discovery of 2.5-million-year-old fossilized peach pits in China, in a form nearly identical to the fruits we know and love today, shows that modern peaches preceded modern humans.

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The Rapid Genetic Adaptations of Siberian Horses
Genome sequencing of several ancient and present-day wild and domesticated horses reveals the origin of horses in the Yakutia region, Russia, as well as their rapid genetic adaptations to persistent cold temperatures.

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Dispersal of Early Hominin from a Topological Approach
The landscape of terrestrial surfaces is likely to be the driving force that led to bipedal locomotion of early humans and their dispersal from Africa.

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Expanding the Diversity of Early Human Locomotion
Researchers working in the Rising Star Cave System in South Africa have recently published their discovery of an early human ancestor that is the first known hominin with a combination of modern feet and a small brain.

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Positive selection as an arms race for survival
Researchers find that disease-causing viruses puts pressure on primates to co-evolve with the virus to increase chances of survival.

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The Fishy Origin of Tooth Enamel
Combining fossil and genomic evidence, researchers show that modern day tooth enamel likely evolved from a protein covering the scales and dermal bones of extinct fishes.

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The Downside of Sex
When sexual selection works against natural selection.

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The Evolution of a Mechanism for Escaping Predation
Researchers find a novel interaction between proteins during embryo development that allows adult water striders to jump and more efficiently avoid predation.

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The Curious Case of the Octopus Brain as Told by Evolution
New interdisciplinary research underlines how traits among the octopus genome allows for their unprecedented intelligence and camouflage abilities.

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Can STIs be beneficial?
A recently published review delves into whether sexually transmitted microbes provide advantages for its host and suggests the role that microbe diversity has in promoting promiscuous behaviour.

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Experimental Evolution Reveals Potential For "Getting Stuck in the Fast Lane"
Long-term experimental evolution of marine cyanobacteria under elevated CO2 conditions shows potential irreversible adaptations for nitrogen fixation.

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Insights into Human Anatomical Evolution from The "Pit of Bones"
An international research team recently published their analysis of fossils from the largest single collection of human remains in the world: a Spanish cave named Sima de los Huesos, or Pit of Bones.

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Evolution May Be Hard at Work to Save Pollinating Bees
Comparison of past and present honeybee genomes reveals rapid evolution in wild honeybees populations exposed to a novel parasite.

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A New Piece of the Puzzle Shows How Snakes Lost Their Legs
Scientists at the University of Portsmouth have discovered a four-legged fossil believed to be an ancestor to modern day snakes.

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Diet and Stomach Acidity Relationship May Have Evolutionary Origins
New research suggests stomach acidity may have evolved as a defense against infection and food poisoning, rather than solely as a means of breaking down food.

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Essential Parts of Polar Bear Y-Chromosome Identified Using Evolutionary Analyses
Researchers decode Y-chromosome of polar bear and confirm its split from ancestors before the last glacial period.

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How Some Mammals Evolved Immunity To Snake Venoms
In the arms race with venomous snakes and their victims, several mammals have independently evolved similar defence mechanisms.

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Native Americans from Down Under: Study Links the First Americans to Australia
According to a recent study, early indigenous Americans may have come from two distinct populations that both traveled across an ancient land bridge almost 15,000 years ago.

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Small Genetic Change in Gut Bacteria Responsible for Pneumonic Plague
Researchers find that acquisition of a new gene in gut bacteria gave way for first infecting the lungs before evolving into a deadly pathogen.

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The Road to Man's Best Friend Was Paved by Competition
A study of the North American family Canidae, which contains modern day dogs, found their evolutionary history was shaped mainly by competition between other closely related (and now extinct) carnivorous groups.

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Current Metabolic Disorders Linked to Ancestral Undernourishment
Findings from a recent study identifies why individuals from developing countries are at a greater risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes than those in the West.

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How the Hihi Bird Inadvertently Conserves its Genetic Diversity
Single male hihis contribute to population conservation and mitigate the effects of inbreeding by mating randomly with females.

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Convergent Evolution of Venom From a Sugar Metabolism Protein
An insulin-like hormone in spiders and centipedes evolved independently, but with a similar pattern, to produce an insecticide toxin found in each of the organisms today.

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Recent Evolutionary Divergence of an Agricultural Pest in a Single Generation
A recent study finds evidence that the “apple maggot”, a major agricultural pest in North America, may have diverged from its native fruit-tree host 150 years ago in just a single generation.

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Horizontal Gene Transfer: Genes That Travel Laterally
An investigation of an antibacterial gene across domains of life.

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Investigation of the Molecules Involved in Brachiopod Shell Formation
In a recent study, the biomolecules making up brachiopod shells were examined to understand shell evolution.

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Evolutionary Innovations Allowed Tetrapods to Colonize the Oceans
Tetrapods have transitioned back into the ocean many times throughout history. What facilitated this recurrent evolutionary event?

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Evolving New Functions From Old Genes: New Insights in Bacterial Evolution
By deleting genes involved in mobility, scientists ask how bacteria can evolve to regain the ability to move.

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What Truly Makes Us Human? Maybe the Chin…
New research from the University of Iowa challenges the notion that our chin evolved for chewing.

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The Genetic History of Winemaking Grapevine Clones
In a recent study, scientists learn the genetic basis for different wine varieties.

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The Slow Evolution of Pelican Spiders
By examining the subtle variations in the Pelican Spider’s phenotypic structural evolution over a long period of time, researchers from the University of California discovered why the process was unusually prolonged.

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Evolution in a Box: Farmers Directing the Evolution of Rice
Scientists analyze how farmers have been artificially evolving rice for agricultural benefits.

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The Vision System of Vertebrates Evolved by Whole Genome Duplications
When extra genetic material is generated, the resulting evolutionary trajectory of species can be eye opening.

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Evolving During Disaster: How Diversification Affects Species Survival
Using sophisticated simulations, scientists assess the benefit of an adaptive technique known as diversification.

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A 270 Million-Year-Long Tree Experiment: The Evolution of Winged Seeds
Scientists unravel the evolutionary history of "helicopter" seeds.

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Captive Breeding in Crocodiles and Points to a Way For Their Survival
The Cuban crocodile is critically endangered, but to what extent is the captive breeding program in Cuba helping prevent their potential extinction?

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Vertebrate Head Evolution: Moving Around Common Building Blocks
By looking at cartilage formation in an organism closely related to vertebrates, scientists learn how vertebrates evolved their unique head structure.

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Transferring Genes Between Individuals of the Same Generation Is Widespread
Comparing the genomes of many animal species, scientists realize genes are transferred between individuals within a generation at a higher rate than expected.

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Use It or Lose It: How the Cavefish Lost Their Eyes
Cavefish have lost ability to generate eyes. New research examines the evolutionary mechanisms that caused this change.

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Invasive Plant Species Puts Pressure on Native Plants
A recent study looks at how invasive plants take polinators away from native plants. In turn, the native plants evolve to deal with this new challenge.

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Fitness of Fish in an Acidifying World
As the oceans acidify due to climate change, scientists assess the ability of marine animals to adapt.

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Unattractive Males Should Be More Risky than Attractive Males
Modeling the evolution of risk-taking behaviors in males gives insight into how attractiveness affects behavior.

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‘Sharing is caring’ in a marine archaea species
Single cell organisms found in highly salty marine waters share DNA with a variety of organisms including viruses and bacteria.

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Evolution in a Box: Inducing Culture in Birds
Observing the spread of culture, scientists document social conformaty in wild animals for the first time.

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The Evolution of Frog's Unique Head Skeleton is Closely Examined
Investigating genes involved in development, scientists now understand how frogs have evolved their unique head structure.

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Whole Genome Sequencing Provides Insight into the Evolution of Darwin's Finches
The classic finches that were integral in Darwin's development of natural selection are now being looked at under new light. What does their genome tell us?

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Are Animals Evolving Towards a Larger Body Size?
A comprehensive analysis of the fossil record reexamines a 19th century assumption.

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Fern Hybridization Sheds Light on How Species Split
Scientists report an extreme case of two very unrelated ferns species capable of interbreeding.

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How to Predict the Future by Looking at the Past
Scientists analyze the evolutionary past of organisms to try to predict their evolutionary future.

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Evolution in a Box: How Scientists Evolved a 24hr Pattern in Yeast
By taking advantage of ideas in artificial evolution, scientists evolve yeast to have a complex human trait.

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Does Evolution Occur in an Unchanging Environment?
New fossil evidence suggests a bacterial community has remained unchanged for two billion years.

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How to Read a Scientific Article
Have you struggled through a scientific article? Try starting here.

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Influenza Evolution Provides Framework for How to Control the Flu
By determining the genetic sequence of influenza viruses over a decade, scientists learn how the flu is evolving.

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