Latest Natural selection Stories

2009-03-31 08:55:38

Scientists at Penn State and the National Institute of Genetics in Japan have demonstrated that several statistical methods commonly used by biologists to detect natural selection at the molecular level tend to produce incorrect results. "Our finding means that hundreds of published studies on natural selection may have drawn incorrect conclusions," said Masatoshi Nei, Penn State Evan Pugh Professor of Biology and the team's leader. The team's results will be published in the Online Early...

2009-03-01 09:25:00

Mendel solved the logic of inheritance in his monastery garden with no more technology than Darwin had in his garden at Down House. So why couldn't Darwin have done it too? A Journal of Biology article* argues that Darwin's background, influences and research focus gave him a viewpoint that prevented him from interpreting the evidence that was all around him, even in his own work. Darwin's commitment to quantitative variation as the raw material of evolution meant he could not see the logic...

2009-02-12 23:48:02

U.S. researchers say data from the Human Genome Project are shedding new light on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution. Over the ages we cataloged the anatomical differences between people and eventually biochemical differences, too. Now we can get down to the molecular differences, Carlos D. Bustamante, a professor of computational biology at Cornell University, told The Washington Post. Researchers said many common health problems -- such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure -- may...

2009-02-08 11:30:00

With the advances in genetic screening and fertility, the future of prospective parents being able to pick and choose what traits they want in their yet-to-be conceived children may not be too far away. But for biologists, such ideas beg many questions about ethics and evolution. Charles Darwin first set down the principle of species change through natural selection. But when it comes to humans, "natural selection" is becoming increasingly harder to define. It has already been challenged by...

2009-01-25 08:50:00

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In an effort to improve rice varieties, a Purdue University researcher was part of a team that traced the evolutionary history of domesticated rice by using a process that focuses on one gene. Scott A. Jackson, a professor of agronomy, said studying the gene that decides how many shoots will form on a rice plant allows researchers to better understand how the gene evolved over time through natural selection and human interaction. Understanding the variations could...

2009-01-19 10:54:40

Richard Dawkins' Extended Phenotype (EP) concept is as relevant now as when it was first proposed 26 years ago and is not at odds with other evolutionary explanations. This was the conclusion of a recent workshop on the Extended Phenotype today, organized by the European Science Foundation (ESF). The EP states that the genes of an organism can be expressed beyond its immediate biological boundary, extending for example to birds' nests, or the behavior of hosts infected by parasites. The key...

2009-01-13 09:12:02

A new study shows that hunting and harvesting plants and animals creates an evolutionary development that causes them to decrease in size and reproduce sooner. "As predators, humans are a dominant evolutionary force," said Chris Darimont of the University of California, Santa Cruz. "It's an ideal recipe for rapid trait change." Researchers announced on Monday that their investigations of the hunting and fishing of 29 diverse species indicates that with human influence, critters have decreased...

2009-01-12 08:59:56

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia scientists turn back clock on evolution in fruit fly to provide key insights into basic mechanisms of evolution In his book, Wonderful World, Stephen Jay Gould writes about an experiment of 'replaying life's tape', wherein one could go back in time, let the tape of life play again and see if 'the repetition looks at all like the original'. Evolutionary biology tells us that it wouldn't look the same "“ the outcome of evolution is contingent on everything...

2008-11-27 11:15:00

Scientists encourage 'continuous and effective management' and further study of these 'spectacular and emblematic' reptiles The Galapagos Islands, which provided impetus and inspiration for Charles Darwin's seminal work, "On the Origin of Species", are home to unique populations of reptiles. Since the time of man's first visit in the 16th century to this crucial incubator for evolutionary theory, the islands' native plants and animals have faced grave challenges, including severe pressures...

2008-11-26 09:51:09

The utility of sex, according to an intriguing new theory of evolutionary biology, may be its ability to promote genes that play well with many other partners rather than those that shine with just one specific set of genes. This idea of genetic mixability, described in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Nov. 24, hits on the difficulty evolutionary biologists have had in understanding sex, specifically its role in population genetics and Darwin's...

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