Latest Selection Stories

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...

2009-01-02 07:56:50

UK researcher Corry Gellatly believes he has a new explanation for how the human race keeps a balance of males and females. The research scientist from Newcastle University proposes that a gene determines whether a man will father more sons or daughters.  According to Gellatly, when the female population is low, women have a better chance of finding a mate, which makes them more likely to pass the gene for fathering daughters to their children.  When men are scarce, they also have...

2008-09-17 03:00:11

By Wilson, David Sloan Wilson, Edward O The process known as group selection was once accepted unthinkingly, then was widely discredited; it's time for a more discriminating assessment Is evolution a team sport, or is the contest for survival played out strictly between individuals? There's no question that natural selection acts on individual organisms: Those with favorable traits are more likely to pass along their genes to the next generation. But perhaps similar processes could operate...

2008-08-31 12:40:00

Shedding some genetically induced excess baggage may have helped a tiny fish thrive in freshwater and outsize its marine ancestors, according to a UBC study published Thursday in Science Express. Measuring three to 10 centimeters long, stickleback fish originated in the ocean but began populating freshwater lakes and streams following the last ice age. Over the past 20,000 years "“ a relatively short time span in evolutionary terms "“ freshwater sticklebacks have lost their bony...

2008-08-27 12:00:56

By PATRICIA WEST-BARKER In Northern New Mexico, you cannot only see the region's history in its adobe homes and farmland irrigated by acequias, you can taste it and smell it, too -- especially in chile-roasting season. The Trujillo family, which owns and operates El Rincon Farm in El Rincon de los Trujillo in Chimay, can trace their own lineage -- and that of their landrace Chimay chile -- back to the original settlers of the region. Defining "landrace" in an article in Fiery Foods...

2008-05-29 15:52:16

The contentious debate about why insects evolved to put the interests of the colony over the individual has been reignited by new research from the University of Leeds, showing that they do so to increase the chances that their genes will be passed on. A team led by Dr Bill Hughes of the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences studied 'kin selection' "“ the theory that an animal may pass on its genes by helping relatives to reproduce, because they share common genes, rather than by...

2007-02-12 13:25:00

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A new statistical method of determining genetic traits that influence social interactions among animals may provide for more productive livestock. Scientists from Purdue University, the Netherlands and England designed mathematical equations based on traits to choose animals that are more congenial in groups, said William Muir, a Purdue Department of Animal Sciences geneticist. The new method is a tool that may contribute both to animal well-being and to securing the...

2006-02-23 15:55:00

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Charles Darwin would undoubtedly be both pleased and chagrined. The famous scientist would be pleased because a study published online this week provides the first clear evidence that natural selection, his favored mechanism of evolution, drives the process of species formation in a wide variety of plants and animals. But he would be chagrined because it has taken nearly 150 years to do so. What Darwin did in his revolutionary treatise, "On the Origin of Species," was to...

Word of the Day
  • A spider.
  • Figuratively, a peevish, testy, ill-natured person.
'Attercop' comes from the Old English 'atorcoppe,' where 'atter' means 'poison, venom' and‎ 'cop' means 'spider.' 'Coppa' is a derivative of 'cop,' top, summit, round head, or 'copp,' cup, vessel, which refers to 'the supposed venomous properties of spiders,' says the OED. 'Copp' is still found in the word 'cobweb.'