Evolution

04/10/2014 - 10:39

A new study shows that South American oilbird is the most genetically distinct bird and has not shared its genes with any other bird on the planet, in the last 80 million years. The cuckoo roller of Madagascar also remained evolutionarily distinct for a long time, more than 65 million years.

 

04/09/2014 - 11:16

In a new study led by Soojin Yi at Georgia Institute of Technology points the role of DNA methylation in regulating duplicate genes. DNA methylation is addition of a methyl group to the DNA nucleotide cytosine or adenine and some of this is heritable. This study found that small methyl group attaches to the duplicate genes and prevent that gene from being active providing explanation to why duplicate genes are lost eventually.

 

04/02/2014 - 21:54

The first comprehensive map of hummingbirds' 22-million-year-old family tree—reconstructed based on careful analysis of 284 of the world's 338 known species—tells a story of rapid and ongoing diversification. The decade-long study reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 3 also helps to explain how today's hummingbirds came to live where they do.

 

03/05/2014 - 10:54

The medical history of Europe has been punctuated by epidemics including plague, smallpox and influenza. This has driven evolution of elements of the immune system from Europeans and Rroma (Gypsies) - populations of different genetic ancestry but living in the same areas- to converge. Plague is a major factor that has shaped these converged immune system elements of both modern Europeans and Rroma. These are the findings of a paper in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from a team of researchers from Spain, Romania, the Netherlands and India.

 

02/20/2014 - 12:00

The widespread loss of forest to sugarcane fields on the island of Mauritius has forced kestrels living there to survive by speeding up their life histories, according to a report published online on February 20 in the Cell Press journal Current Biology. By getting an earlier start, the birds are managing to have just as many offspring, even though they die sooner.

 

02/07/2014 - 10:46

The lipid-rich membranes of cells are largely impermeable to proteins, but evolution has provided a way through – in the form of transmembrane tunnels. A new study shows in unmatched detail what happens as proteins pass through such a pore.