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Latest Natural selection Stories

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2009-06-05 08:30:00

New research indicates that natural selection may shape the human genome much more slowly than previously thought. Other factors -- the movements of humans within and among continents, the expansions and contractions of populations, and the vagaries of genetic chance "“ have heavily influenced the distribution of genetic variations in populations around the world. The study, conducted by a team from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the University of Chicago, the University of...

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2009-04-30 08:37:02

Scientists at Scripps Research make molecules that evolve and compete, mimicking behavior of Darwin's finches As described in an article published this week in an advance, online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the work demonstrates some of the classic principles of evolution. For instance, research shows that when different species directly compete for the same finite resource, only the fittest will survive. The work also demonstrates how, when...

2009-04-29 14:15:15

For two decades, researchers have been using a growing volume of genetic data to debate whether ancestors of Native Americans emigrated to the New World in one wave or successive waves, or from one ancestral Asian population or a number of different populations. Now, after painstakingly comparing DNA samples from people in dozens of modern-day Native American and Eurasian groups, an international team of scientists thinks it can put the matter to rest: Virtually without exception the new...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...


Word of the Day
barghest
  • A goblin in English folklore, often appearing in the shape of a large dog and believed to portend imminent death or misfortune.
  • A ghost, wraith, hobgoblin, elf, or spirit.
The origin of 'barghest' is not known, but it may be from perhaps burh-ghest, town-ghost, or German Berg-geist (mountain spirit) or Bär-geist (bear-spirit).
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