Current Evolutionary Edge News and Events

Current Evolutionary Edge News and Events, Evolutionary Edge News Articles.
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Rapid evolution may help species adapt to climate change and competition
A study shows that a fruit fly species can adapt rapidly to an invader and this evolutionary change can affect how they deal with a stressful climate. Over a few months, the naturalized species adapted to the invasive species' presence. This affected how the flies adapted to cold weather. The flies exposed to invasive species evolved in the fall to be larger, lay fewer eggs and develop faster than flies that hadn't been exposed. (2021-02-22)

The distribution of vertebrate animals redefines temperate and cold climate regions
The distribution of vegetation is routinely used to classify climate regions worldwide, yet whether these regions are relevant to other organisms is unknown. Umeå researchers have established climate regions based on vertebrate species' distributions in a new study published in eLife. They found that while high-energy climate regions are similar across vertebrate and plant groups, there are large differences in temperate and cold climates. (2021-02-18)

Electrons living on the edge
University of Tsukuba researchers calculated the electronic structure of topological insulators excited by laser beams and found that massless states can be generated. This work may lead to a major advance in computer technology with circuits that generate less heat. (2021-02-17)

Evolution's game of rock-paper-scissors
A group of scientists at Lehigh University led by Gregory Lang, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has recently provided empirical evidence that evolution can be nontransitive. Lang and his team identify a nontransitive evolutionary sequence through a 1,000-generation yeast evolution experiment. In the experiment, an evolved clone outcompetes a recent ancestor but loses in direct competition with a distant ancestor. (2021-02-16)

A glimpse into the formation of mitoribosome
SciLifeLab Fellow Alexey Amunts and his team together with researchers from the Czech Academy of Sciences report an assembly intermediate of the ribosome in mitochondria. It reveals 22 associated factors that cooperatively organize the biogenesis process. (2021-02-16)

Neandertal gene variants both increase and decrease the risk for severe COVID-19
Last year, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany showed that a major genetic risk factor for severe COVID-19 is inherited from Neandertals. Now the same researchers show, in a study published in PNAS, that Neandertals also contributed a protective variant. Half of all people outside Africa carry a Neandertal gene variant that reduces the risk of needing intensive care for COVID-19 by 20 percent. (2021-02-16)

Scientists discovered new physical effects important for the ITER reactor operation
The energy of the future lies in the area of the controlled thermonuclear fusion. Researchers discovered new effects, which affect the energy flow in the reactor. The theoretical predictions were confirmed by the experiments on two tokamaks. The research results were published in the scientific journal 'Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion'. (2021-02-11)

Neandertal genes alter neurodevelopment in modern human brain organoids
Building modern human brain organoids with the Neanderthal variant of a gene has provided a glimpse into the way substitutions in this gene impacted our species' evolution. (2021-02-11)

Why overfishing leads to smaller cod
Overfishing, hunting and intensive agriculture and forestry can sometimes contribute to plants and animals becoming endangered. New research from Lund University in Sweden and University of Toronto can now show why this leads to entire populations becoming smaller in size, as well as reproducing earlier. The study is published in the journal PNAS. (2021-02-10)

How cells recycle the machinery that drives their motility?
Research groups at University of Helsinki and Institut Jacques Monod, Paris, discovered a new molecular mechanism that promotes cell migration. The discovery sheds light on the mechanisms that drive uncontrolled movement of cancer cells, and also revises the 'text book view' of cell migration. (2021-02-09)

Relaxed precautions, not climate, the biggest factor driving wintertime COVID-19 outbreaks
Wintertime outbreaks of COVID-19 have been largely driven by whether people adhere to control measures such as mask wearing and social distancing, according to a study by researchers affiliated with the Climate Change and Infectious Disease initiative based in Princeton University's High Meadows Environmental Institute. Climate and a lack of population immunity are playing smaller roles during the pandemic phase of the virus, but will become more impactful as infections slow. (2021-02-09)

UMass Amherst researchers gain insight into the biology of a deadly fungus
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have gained new insight into the biological processes of a chytrid fungus responsible for a deadly skin infection devastating frog populations worldwide. (2021-02-08)

Some types of coronavirus steal the hosts' genes to elude their immune system
Researchers discovered this while analysing pathogens found in European hedgehogs that present the same strain of Beta-CoV responsible for both COVID-19 and MERS but without evidence of human transmissibility. It is the first time this ability is observed in coronaviruses (2021-02-08)

Scientists discover how a group of caterpillars became poisonous
The Atala butterfly and its five closest relatives in the genus Eumaeus like to display their toxicity. Their toxicity comes from what they eat as caterpillars: plants called cycads that have been around since before dinosaurs roamed the Earth and contain a potent liver toxin. New research tells the evolutionary tale of how these butterflies gained their toxin-laced defenses as well as the bold colors and behaviors that tell all would-be predators to steer clear. (2021-02-08)

Pangolin coronavirus could jump to humans
Scientists at the Francis Crick Institute have found important structural similarities between SARS-CoV-2 and a pangolin coronavirus. (2021-02-05)

Battling bugs help solve mysteries of weapon evolution
Scientists at the University of Arizona outfitted bugs with body armor and pitted them against each other in staged wrestling matches, all in the name of science. The findings shed light on how evolution has shaped the arsenal of weapons in the animal kingdom. (2021-02-04)

Fossil pigments shed new light on vertebrate evolution
This new paper shows that melanin is more than just something that gives colour to the body. It played an important role in the evolution of warm-blooded animals and helped defined what birds and mammals look like today. By studying where melanin occurs in the body in fossils and modern animals researchers have produced the first model for how melanin has evolved over the last 500 million years. (2021-02-04)

The underestimated mutation potential of retrogenes
mRNA molecules from retrogenes are reverse transcribed to DNA and incorporated into the genome. (2021-02-02)

Pollinator host-switches and fig hybridization dominate fig-wasp coevolution
Together with colleagues from 11 institutions from home and abroad, researchers from the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences have recently shown that the fig hybridization mediated by pollinator host-switching in the obligate fig-wasp pollination system is more common than previously thought. (2021-02-02)

Malaria threw human evolution into overdrive on this African archipelago
Malaria is an ancient scourge, but it's still leaving its mark on the human genome. And now, researchers have uncovered recent traces of adaptation to malaria in the islanders of Cabo Verde -- thanks to a genetic mutation, inherited from their African ancestors, that prevents a type of malaria parasite from invading red blood cells. The findings represent one of the speediest, most dramatic changes measured in the human genome. (2021-01-28)

Stimulating brain pathways shows origins of human language and memory
Scientists have identified that the evolutionary development of human and primate brains may have been similar for communication and memory. (2021-01-25)

To find the right network model, compare all possible histories
Scientists rarely have the historical data they need to see exactly how nodes in a network became connected. But a new paper in Physical Review Letters offers hope for reconstructing the missing information, using a new method to evaluate the rules that generate network models. (2021-01-25)

Cyber-evolution: How computer science is harnessing the power of Darwinian transformation
A new study highlights the progress our machines have made in replicating evolutionary processes and what this could mean for engineering design, software refinement, gaming strategy, robotics and even medicine, while fostering a deeper insight into foundational issues in biological evolution. (2021-01-18)

What the lungfishes' genome teaches us about the vertebrates' conquest of land
The genome of the Australian lungfish is the largest sequenced animal genome and helps us to better understand the conquest of land by vertebrates - study led by evolutionary biologists from the University of Konstanz (2021-01-18)

Direct quantification of topological protection in photonic edge states at telecom wavelengths
Photonic topological insulators are currently at the forefront of on-chip photonic research due to their potential for loss-free information transport. Realized in photonic crystals, they enable robust propagation of optical states along domain walls. But how robust is robust? In order to answer this, researchers from TU Delft and AMOLF in the Netherlands quantified photonic edge state transport using phase-resolved near-field optical microscopy. The findings provide a crucial step towards error-free integrated photonic quantum networks (2021-01-18)

A scanning transmission X-ray microscope for analysis of chemical states of lithium
A new method to analyze chemical status of lithium was developed by using a synchrotron-based scanning transmission soft X-ray microscope (STXM). A key of the method is installation of a newly designed X-ray lens, a low-pass filtering zone plate, to the STXM to improve quality of a monochromatic X-ray. 2-dimensional chemical state of a test electrode of Li-ion battery was successfully analyzed with spatial resolution of 72 nm. (2021-01-14)

CCNY's David Lohman finds Asian butterfly mimics different species as defense mechanism
Many animal and insect species use Batesian mimicry - mimicking a poisonous species - as a defense against predators. The common palmfly, Elymnias hypermnestra (a species of satyrine butterfly), which is found throughout wide areas of tropical and subtropical Asia, adds a twist to this evolutionary strategy: the females evolved two distinct forms, either orange or dark brown, imitating two separate poisonous model species, Danaus or Euploea. (2021-01-14)

The dire wolf was a distinct species, different from the gray wolf, biologists discover
The iconic, prehistoric dire wolf, which prowled through the Americas over 11 millennia ago, was a distinct species from the smaller gray wolf, an international team of scientists reports today in the journal Nature. The study, which puts to bed a mystery that biologists have pondered for more than 100 years, was led by researchers from UCLA, along with colleagues from Durham University in the UK, Australia's Adelaide University and Germany's Ludwig Maximilian University. (2021-01-13)

Asian butterfly mimics other species to defend against predators
Many animal and insect species use Batesian mimicry -- mimicking a poisonous species -- as a defense against predators. The common palmfly Elymnias hypermnestra -- a species of satyrine butterfly that is found throughout wide areas of tropical and subtropical Asia -- adds a twist to this evolutionary strategy. (2021-01-13)

Research explains why crocodiles have changed so little since the age of the dinosaurs
New research by scientists at the University of Bristol explains how a 'stop-start' pattern of evolution, governed by environmental change, could explain why crocodiles have changed so little since the age of the dinosaurs. (2021-01-07)

New mammal reference genome helps ID genetic variants for human health
A new reference genome assembly identified more than 85 million genetic variants in the rhesus macaque, the largest database of genetic variation for any one nonhuman primate species to date. (2020-12-23)

Ancient DNA sheds light on the peopling of the Mariana Islands
Compared to the first peopling of Polynesia, the settlement of the Mariana Islands in the Western Pacific, which happened around 3,500 years ago, has received little attention. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, the Australian National University and the University of Guam have now obtained answers to long debated questions regarding the origin of the first colonizers of the Marianas and their relationship to the people who initially settled in Polynesia. (2020-12-22)

Evolution of a killer: How African Salmonella made the leap from gut to bloodstream
University of Liverpool scientists have exploited the combined power of genomics and epidemiology to understand how a type of Salmonella bacteria evolved to kill hundreds of thousands of immunocompromised people in Africa. (2020-12-21)

Scientists solve 'flea mystery'
Researchers from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGPAS) and the University of Bristol in the UK solved the 'Flea Mystery.' (2020-12-20)

Genetic exchange discovered in anciently asexual rotifers
Skoltech's evolutionary biologists discovered recombination in bdelloid rotifers, microscopic freshwater invertebrates, which have long been regarded as 'an evolutionary scandal' due to their presumed ancient asexuality. The existence of such anciently asexual groups calls into question the hypothesis that sexual reproduction is indispensable for long-term evolutionary success of species. However, the recent study published in Nature Communications provides evidence of recombination and genetic exchange in bdelloids. (2020-12-18)

Babbler bird falls into climate change trap
Animals can fall into an 'ecological trap' by altering their behavior in the 'wrong direction' in response to climate change, researchers say. (2020-12-16)

Creating a ground plan for stonefly evolution
A team led by the University of Tsukuba microscopically examined the eggs of stoneflies to identify ground plan features and shed light on the evolutionary history of the order. By identifying ancestral and derived features, the researchers reconstructed the evolution of egg structures, and confirmed that establishing an embryonic ground plan can provide unique insights into the evolution of the group. (2020-12-15)

Primitive fish fossils reveal developmental origins of teeth
Teeth and hard structures called dermal odontodes are evolutionarily related, arising from the same developmental system, a new study published today in eLife shows. (2020-12-15)

OU-led study focuses on evolutionary determinism and convergence in marine fishes
The stickleback is a well-studied system in freshwater lakes, but the evolution of convergent morphotypes that occupy different positions in the water column in marine environments is less clear. An international group of scientists led by researchers at the University of Oklahoma decided to test the extent to which independent transitions from bottom to midwater habitats in marine fish species from different oceanic basins resulted in the recurrent evolution of body shape morphologies, comparable to those documented in sticklebacks. (2020-12-15)

Using water fleas, UTA researchers investigate adaptive evolution
Researchers from The University of Texas at Arlington resurrected the preserved eggs of a shrimp-like crustacean to examine long-standing questions about adaptive evolution, reporting the results in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. (2020-12-11)

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