Moore’s Law, The Origin Of Life, And Dropping Turkeys Off A Building

I’ve already mentioned the nonsensical paper “published” in (surprise, surprise) arXiv in...

Genome Reduction In Bladderworts Vs. Leg Loss In Snakes

In one sense, I am happy that there is enough interest in the concept of “junk DNA” (and by...

Another Just-So Story, This Time About Fists

“It is demonstrable,” said he, “that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as...

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T. Ryan GregoryRSS Feed of this column.

I am an evolutionary biologist specializing in genome size evolution at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Be sure to visit Evolver Zone

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Today I gave my lecture on mammal diversity and evolution in the 4th year vertebrate course. We have been talking a fair bit about paraphyletic groups, common vs. scientific names, and so on. Within this context, we explored the issue of whether we're "descended from monkeys", by taking a look at a phylogeny of relevant primates:
Kill or cure?

Kill or cure?

Sep 24 2009 | 1 comment(s)

This is too funny. A website called Kill or Cure? has been compiling links to science stories in The Daily Mail (UK) and their apparent "ongoing effort to classify every inanimate object into those that cause cancer and those that prevent it". A snippet of the entries under "M"...
Just came across this nice video by C0nc0rdance summarizing the work of Susumu Ohno and the original concept of junk DNA. (Oh, and it gets bonus points for using one of my figures!)
To the list of special issues dealing with the evolution of eyes (E:EO, Phil Trans R Soc B), you can now add one on nervous systems in Nature Reviews Neuroscience.

Nature Reviews Neuroscience

Vol. 10, Oct. 2009
Like many institutions, the University of Guelph is hosting a series of events in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species. Two of them, a teachers' workshop and the Yodzis Colloquium, have already run, but there is another coming up that I am pleased to announce. This View of Life: Evolutionary Art for the Year of Darwin University of Guelph and Ed Video Oct. 9 - 30 Reception Oct. 16, 5:00-7:00pm Science Complex Atrium Admission is free
I sometimes get asked if non-coding elements (usually "junk DNA" is what they say) can ever evolve into genes. I usually say that transposable elements, at least, can be coopted into functional roles, and that it wouldn't be so odd if a pseudogene took on a novel function sometime through mutations. Kind of a lame answer, I know, but there haven't been too many unambiguous examples yet, so cut me some slack. Anyway, here's a story in New Scientist that describes a report of three genes unique to humans that appear to have arisen from non-coding DNA. I don't know about other researchers, but I didn't consider this "virtually impossible", just rare.