Genetics & Molecular Biology
A discovery about the genetics of coat color in dogs could help explain why humans come in different weights and vary in our abilities to cope with stress, a team led by researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine reports.
The study, published in the Nov. 2 issue of Science, answers a longtime mystery: What determines coat color in dogs? While researchers have known since the 1900s that most mammals share the same genetic mechanism to determine coat color, by the 1950s they began to suspect that dogs were different.
Now after swabbing the inner cheeks of hundreds of dogs and analyzing the DNA in the resulting samples, a team led by genetics professor Greg Barsh, MD, PhD, has nailed the gene.
New evidence that genetics plays a key role in obesity is published today in the International Journal of Bioinformatics Research and Applications. The findings relate to the genetics of modern Pima Indians who have an unusually high rate of obesity but could be extrapolated to all people. Their obesity is thought to be linked to a thrifty metabolism that allowed them to metabolize food more efficiently in times when little was available but causes problems when food is in abundance.
Mark Rowe, David McClellan, and colleagues at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, USA, have studied the effect of evolutionary selection on Pima Indians, a people indigenous to the present-day Sonora desert of Arizona and New Mexico.
Tilapia, a fish that originates from southern regions, has been introduced in over 100 countries. It is the second most commonly produced fish in aquaculture in the world after carp. 99% is produced and consumed in China.
Raising tilapia is easy and inexpensive. It adapts well to fresh or salt water and fattens fast. Unlike most salmoniforms in aquaculture (salmon, trout, perch, bream), for which fishmeal and fish oil constitute an essential part of their diet, tilapia is lower down in the trophic or food chain and feeds on algae, plankton or small animals. In extensive and semi-extensive production systems, tilapia is largely fed on vegetable waste (rice, cotton, etc.).
A review of Dr Lonnie W Aarssen's “Some Bold evolutionary predictions for mating in humans”
Quite often papers are published which get slated for being “politically incorrect” I recently witnessed a rather interesting example of that. However when reading papers that acquire this dubious title I find it useful to look at the paper on it’s own merits. Dr Lonnie W. Aarssen’s “Some Bold evolutionary predictions for mating in humans” is an interesting example. My initial impression of the paper is that it simply asserts that human beings are subject to the same mating rules as other primates, and that at some point in the future older social patterns in humans involving marriage and so on would re-assert themselves, because “it is in the genes” However Dr Aarssen’s conclusions are certainly worthy of further debate and have merit.
Basic principles of biology rather than women’s newfound economic independence can explain why fewer of them are getting married and having children, and why the trend may only be temporary, says a Queen’s researcher.
“Only in recent times have women acquired significant control over their own fertility, and many are preferring not to be saddled with the burden of raising children,” says Lonnie Aarssen, a Biology professor who specializes in reproductive ecology. The question is whether this is just a result of economic factors and socio-cultural conditioning, as most analysts claim, or whether the choices that women are making about parenthood are influenced by genetic inheritance from maternal ancestors that were dominated by paternal ancestors.”
Evolution carries out an incredibly tricky balancing act: the genetic program of a species has to be resistant to small changes, yet also susceptible to the adaptive remodeling of natural selection. The human genome is so robust that over 6 billion variations give rise to viable organisms that have successfully traversed the complex developmental program that produces a live human infant from a single cell. Yet the human genome is the product of major evolutionary innovation, even over the relatively short period since the human and chimp lineages diverged. How can genomes be robust and malleable at the same time?
Androstenone is a derivative of testosterone that is a potent ingredient in male body odor. To some it smells like stale urine, others find it sweet and pleasant. Some can't smell it at all.
Androstenone is used by some mammals to convey social and sexual information so if you know a girl who doesn't like the way you smell, it may be genetic variations in a single odorant receptor called OR7D4 - don't take it personally, it's in her genes.
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found that a single gene might control whether or not individuals tend to pile on fat, a discovery that may point to new ways to fight obesity and diabetes.
“From worms to mammals, this gene controls fat formation,” said Dr. Jonathan Graff, associate professor of developmental biology and internal medicine at UT Southwestern and senior author of a study appearing in the Sept. 5 issue of Cell Metabolism.
It's done - the independent sequence and assembly of the six billion base pairs from the genome of one person, Craig Venter of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), has been completed.
Two general versions of the human genome currently exist but those were a melding of DNA from various people. In the case of one version from Celera Genomics, it was a consensus assembly from five individuals, while a government-funded version was a haploid genome based on sequencing from a limited number of individuals.
It seems both versions greatly underestimated human genetic diversity.
A team of scientists led by young Croatian evolutionary geneticist Tomislav Domazet-Lošo from Ruder Boškovic Institute (RBI) in Zagreb, Croatia, developed a novel methodological approach in evolutionary studies.
Using the method they named 'genomic phylostratigraphy', its authors shed new and unexpected light on some of the long standing macroevolutionary issues, which have been puzzling evolutionary biologists since Darwin.
The only direct method of research in evolutionary history involves analyzing the fossil remains of once living organisms, excavated in various localities throughout of the world. However, that approach often cannot provide the full evolutionary pathway of some species, as it requires uncovering of many fossils from various stages of its evolutionary history.