Latest Phylogenetics Stories

2009-07-01 16:45:00

A team of Penn State scientists has shed light on the processes that lead to certain human DNA mutations that are implicated in hundreds of inherited diseases such as tuberous sclerosis and neurofibromatosis type 1. The results one day could influence the way couples who seek to have children receive genetic counseling. The team, led by Kateryna Makova, an associate professor of biology, also includes Erika Kvikstad, a graduate student in the Department of Biology, and Francesca Chiaromonte,...

2009-06-19 06:09:23

Detailed, accurate evolutionary trees that reveal the relatedness of living things can now be determined much faster and for thousands of species with a computing method developed by computer scientists and a biologist at The University of Texas at Austin. They report their new method in the journal Science. Since Charles Darwin, biologists have constructed evolutionary trees to explain the relatedness of plants, animals and other organisms. The science of figuring out these trees, known as...

2009-06-04 12:18:35

Researchers at the University of Leeds have devised a more accurate method of dating ancient human migration "“ even when no corroborating archaeological evidence exists.Estimating the chronology of population migrations throughout mankind's early history has always been problematic. The most widely used genetic method works back to find the last common ancestor of any particular set of lineages using samples of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), but this method has recently been shown to be...

2009-06-01 13:50:00

Scientists are compiling an Internet-based observatory of life on Earth as a guide to everything from the impact of climate change on wildlife to pests that can damage crops, Reuters reported. James Edwards, head of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said the 10-year project hopes to have millions of people providing data in the long term. With the help of scientific organizations around the world, the project will link up thousands of computer...

2009-04-29 09:24:07

During a seminar at another institution several years ago, University of Chicago paleontologist David Jablonski fielded a hostile question: Why bother classifying organisms according to their physical appearance, let alone analyze their evolutionary dynamics, when molecular techniques had already invalidated that approach? With more than a few heads in the audience nodding their agreement, Jablonski, the William Kenan Jr. Professor in Geophysical Sciences, saw more work to be done. The...

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...

2009-02-10 12:25:00

Biologists all over the world are working on an effort to determine how all the estimated 500,000 species of plants are related to one another. According to the New York Times, researchers have been able to sequence DNA from thousands of species from jungles, tundras and museum drawers, using supercomputers to crunch all of the genetic data. Dr. Michael Sanderson, a biologist at the University of Arizona, said science might soon be able to draw the entire evolutionary tree of plants...

2009-02-10 11:30:29

A new University of Florida study based on DNA analysis from living flowering plants shows that the ancestors of most modern trees diversified extremely rapidly 90 million years ago, ultimately leading to the formation of forests that supported similar evolutionary bursts in animals and other plants. This burst of speciation over a 5-million-year span was one of three major radiations of flowering plants, known as angiosperms. The study focuses on diversification in the rosid clade, a group...

2008-09-03 10:33:32

Scientists at Penn State have developed a new computational method that they say will help them to understand how life began on Earth. The team's method has the potential to trace the evolutionary histories of proteins all the way back to either cells or viruses, thus settling the debate once and for all over which of these life forms came first. "We have just begun to tap the potential power of this method," said Randen Patterson, a Penn State assistant professor of biology and one of the...

2008-03-14 00:30:00

A new study has revealed that nearly all of the Native Americans in the western hemisphere can be traced through DNA to six women whose descendants first immigrated from Asia 20,000 years ago.  Researchers said these women left a DNA signature that can be found in about 95 percent of today's Native Americans.  Ugo Perego from the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation in Salt Lake City and the University of Pavia in Italy is the study's co-author.  He told Associated Press...

Word of the Day
  • Boughs or branches.
  • Warbling of birds in trees.