Current Evolutionary News and Events

Current Evolutionary News and Events, Evolutionary 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

Natural reward theory could provide new foundation for biology
Major trends of evolution, including the increase of complexity, command over resources, and innovativeness, have remained difficult to reconcile with Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. A new paper by Owen Gilbert (University of Texas), and published in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal Rethinking Ecology, suggests that there is an alternative non-random force of evolution: natural reward, which acts synergistically with natural selection and leads to the increased innovativeness, or advancement, of life with time. (2020-12-08)

Miniature guttural toads on Mauritius and Réunion stun researchers
Researchers from the DSI/NRF Center for Invasion Biology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa have found that, scarcely a hundred years after Guttural Toads were introduced to the islands of Mauritius and Réunion, their overall body size has been reduced by up to a third compared to their counterparts in South Africa. (2020-12-08)

Study finds large-scale expansion of stem rust resistance gene in barley and oat lineages
Stem rust is one of the most devastating fungal diseases of wheat and historically has caused dramatic, widespread crop failures resulting in significant yield losses around the world. Stem rust epidemics in major wheat growing areas could cause a major threat to global food security. Scientists have identified a resistance gene, Sr22, as one of the few characterized genes that protects against a large array of stem rust races. (2020-12-07)

Scientists predict 'optimal' stress levels
Scientists have created an evolutionary model to predict how animals should react in stressful situations. (2020-12-03)

The impact of Neandertal DNA on human health
A researcher at the University of Tartu described new associations between Neandertal DNA and autoimmune diseases, prostate cancer and type 2 diabetes. (2020-12-03)

Natural selection plays major role in an organism's capacity to evolve and adapt
It's widely assumed within the evolutionary biology field that weak selection provides an advantage to an organism's ability to evolve. But new research, published in the journal Science, may offer the first experimental proof that strong selection pressure enhances an organism's evolvability, by boosting robustness. (2020-12-03)

New method identifies adaptive mutations in complex evolving populations
A research team co-led by a scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has developed a method to study how HIV mutates to escape the immune system in multiple patients, which could inform HIV vaccine design. (2020-11-30)

Wheat diversity due to cross-hybridization with wild grasses
Bread wheat can grow in highly diverse regional environments. An important reason for its great genetic variety is the cross-hybridization with many chromosome fragments from wild grasses. This is shown by the genome sequences of 10 wheat varieties from four continents, which an international consortium including researchers from the University of Zurich has now decoded. (2020-11-25)

Study highlights sex-specific variability in mouse features
Scientists have shown that sex-specific differences in variability depend on individual physical and physiological features in mice, debunking competing theories that either males or females are more variable. (2020-11-17)

Birds of a feather do flock together
Researchers explain how different species of the finch-like capuchino seedeaters quickly acquired distinct patterns of coloration over an evolutionary time scale. New gene patterns emerged from selective sweeps, a genetic process during which a naturally occurring variation becomes advantageous. (2020-11-17)

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