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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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Two years ago, I had t-shirts made up for my evolution course that depicted Darwin's notebook sketch of a simple tree diagram capped by the words "I think". In total, we generated about $500 for conservation charities, and the students got a pretty cool shirt (I still see them around campus fairly frequently). Had I been teaching the course this semester, I probably would have produced the t-shirts again. This is Darwin Year, after all. But I'm not, so I won't.

Nature recently provided a list of "15 evolutionary gems".

...the document summarizes 15 lines of evidence from papers published in Nature over the past 10 years. The evidence is drawn from the fossil record, from studies of natural and artificial habitats, and from research on molecular biological processes.

In a year in which Darwin is being celebrated amid uncertainty and hostility about his ideas among citizens, being aware of the cumulatively incontrovertible evidence for those ideas is all the more important. We trust that this document will help.

I won't get into this in detail, in part because I wrote about it in my paper The evolution of complex organs in the special issue of Evolution: Education and Outreach about eyes.

Peppered moth

Peppered moth

Dec 29 2008 | 1 comment(s)

The peppered moth, Biston betularia, has been used as a classic example of natural selection in action. This moth (like many others) includes both light and dark forms that change in frequency under conditions of higher or lower pollution. Anti-evolutionists have challenged this, and unfortunately they gained ammunition in this regard from a book review by Jerry Coyne.

From The Evolution&Medicine Review, a notification about the special issue of the Lancet on evolution. (And don't forget the special issue of E:EO!).

Sometimes while doing science, one is struck by something in the same way that one is affected by beautiful art.

Not that these are the most amazing images ever (they weren't meant to be artistic, just routine work), but I enjoyed them. They're from a project on rotifers by one of my undergraduate thesis students. They're both of Adineta vaga: the first is of the whole animal (the pink spots are the DNA), the second is the musculature on a confocal laser microscope. (Photos by K. Ashforth).