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Current Speciation News and Events, Speciation News Articles.
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The two faces of the Jekyll gene
Genes which are specific to a species or group of species can reflect important genetic changes within lineages. Often, such lineage-specific genes are found to play a role within sexual reproduction, thus promoting reproductive isolation and, consequently, speciation. Whilst investigating the Jekyll gene which is essential for the procreation of barley, researchers from the IPK in Gatersleben have discovered that Jekyll occurs in form of two highly divergent allelic variants. (2019-06-26)

A new normal: Study explains universal pattern in fossil record
Instead of the typical bell-shaped curve, the fossil record shows a fat-tailed distribution, with extreme, outlier, events occurring with higher-than-expected probability. Using the same mathematical tools that describe stock market crashes, Santa Fe Institute scientists explain the evolutionary dynamics that give rise to universal patterns in the fossil record. (2019-06-26)

Love songs from paradise take a nosedive
The Galápagos Islands finches named after Charles Darwin are starting to sing a different tune because of an introduced pest on the once pristine environment. New research shows that Darwin's finch males whose beaks and nostril (naris) have been damaged by the parasitic invasion are producing 'sub-par song.' (2019-06-11)

Sex, lice and videotape
University of Utah biologists demonstrated real-time adaptation in their lab that triggered reproductive isolation in just four years. They began with a single population of parasitic feather lice, split the population in two and transferred them onto different-sized hosts -- pigeons with small feathers, and pigeons with large feathers. The pigeons preened at the lice and populations adapted quickly by evolving differences in body size. When paired together, males and females that were too different or too similar in size laid zero eggs. (2019-06-10)

Scientists crack origin of the Persian walnut
Prized worldwide for its high-quality wood and rich flavor of delicious nuts, the Persian walnut (Juglans regia) is an important economic crop. Using genomic data analyzed with phylogenetic and population genetic approaches, researchers have now cracked this mystery, showing that the Persian walnut is the result of hybridization between two long-extinct species around 3.45 million years ago. (2019-06-04)

How corn's ancient ancestor swipes left on crossbreeding
Determining how one species becomes distinct from another has been a subject of fascination dating back to Charles Darwin. New research led by Carnegie's Matthew Evans and published in Nature Communications elucidates the mechanism that keeps maize distinct from its ancient ancestor grass, teosinte. (2019-05-24)

How the snail's shell got its coil
Researchers from the Tokyo University of Science, Japan, have used CRISPR gene editing technology to make snails with shells that coil the 'wrong' way, providing insights into the fundamental basis of left-right asymmetry in animals. These findings are published in the journal Development. (2019-05-14)

Latitudinal gradient of plant phylogenetic diversity explained
The most discussed global pattern of species diversity along the latitudinal gradient has now an evolutionary explanation: museum vs cradle hypothesis broken into pieces. (2019-04-26)

New perennial brome-grass from Iberian Peninsula named after Picos de Europa National Park
Picos de Europa National Park has given its name to a new species of perennial brome-grass from Spain. Having worked on the systematics of the genus Bromus for a long time, the scientists were surprised to record previously unrecognised specimens from the well-studied ''Fuente la Escalera'' area in the National Park. Identified as a new species and recorded from a total of eleven locations, the plant is now described in the open access journal PhytoKeys. (2019-04-24)

New species of early human found in the Philippines
An international team of researchers have uncovered the remains of a new species of human in the Philippines, proving the region played a key role in hominin evolutionary history. (2019-04-10)

Earth's recovery from mass extinction could take millions of years
Recovering from mass extinction has a 'speed limit,' say researchers, with gradual patterns of ecosystem redevelopment and speciation. (2019-04-08)

New cryptic bird species discovered
Through persistent detective work and advances in genetic sequencing technology, Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science researchers have discovered a new species of bird on Borneo -- the Cream-eyed Bulbul, or Pycnonotus pseudosimplex. Their discovery was published recently in the scientific journal, the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. (2019-03-27)

Speciation: Birds of a feather...
Carrion crows and hooded crows are almost indistinguishable genetically, and hybrid offspring are fertile. Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich biologists now show that the two forms have remained distinct largely owing to the dominant role of plumage color in mate choice. (2019-03-26)

A mating war in diving beetles has stopped the evolution of species
In nature, males eager attempts to mate with females can be so extreme that they will harm females. Such negative impact of mating interactions has been suggested to promote the emergence of new species under some circumstances. Surprisingly, one type of diving beetle species now show that this conflict between the sexes can instead lead to an evolutionary standstill in which mating enhancing traits in males and counter-adaptations in females prevent the formation of new species. (2019-03-20)

Expansion of transposable elements offers clue to genetic paradox
A research group led by Professor GUO Yalong from the Institute of Botany of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, together with SONG Ge, and Sureshkumar Balasubramanian from the School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, Australia, has revealed that transposable element insertions could potentially help species with limited genetic variation adapt to novel environments. (2019-03-17)

How new species arise in the sea
How can a species split into several new species if they still live close to each other and are able to interbreed? Using a group of Caribbean reef fishes as a model system, a team of scientists from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute has found that natural selection can couple the evolution of genes for vision and color pattern. The team has published its findings today in the international journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. (2019-03-04)

New islands, happy feet: Study reveals island formation a key driver of penguin speciation
Ever since Darwin first set foot on the Galapagos, evolutionary biologists have long known that the geographic isolation of archipelagos has helped spur the formation of new species. Now, an international research team led by Theresa Cole at the University of Otago, New Zealand, has found the same holds true for penguins. They have found the first compelling evidence that modern penguin diversity is driven by islands, despite spending the majority of their lives at sea. (2019-02-05)

How new species emerge
International research team reconstructs the evolutionary history of baboons. (2019-01-31)

Human mutation rate has slowed recently
Researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark, and Copenhagen Zoo have discovered that the human mutation rate is significantly slower than for our closest primate relatives. The new knowledge may be important for estimates of when the common ancestor for humans and chimpanzees lived -- and for conservation of large primates in the wild. (2019-01-22)

DNA analyses show a dynamic coevolutionary relationship between birds and their feather mites
A genetic study uncovers that birds maintain a dynamic coevolutionary relationship with their feather mites. The study has involved the participation of the Estación Biológica de Doñana from the CSIC, and its results have just been published in the journal Molecular Ecology. (2019-01-17)

Size matters -- To livebearer fish, big fins are a big deal
In a new paper, biologists from the University of California, Riverside, studied the evolution of 40 molly and Limia species, and concluded dorsal fin displays arose first for males to compete with other males, only later being used in courtship displays to females. These changes in fin function went hand in hand with enlargement of the male dorsal fin. The fins reached extreme sizes in a few species and appear to be associated with rapid evolution, especially in mollies. (2019-01-17)

U-M howler monkey study examines mechanisms of new species formation
A new University of Michigan study of interbreeding between two species of howler monkeys in Mexico is yielding insights into the forces that drive the evolution of new species. (2018-12-22)

The idiosyncratic mammalian diversification after extinction of the dinosaurs
Researchers state that many mammals lineages coexisted with the dinosaurs before the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Although many species of mammals also disappeared in the extinction event, several lineages survived. (2018-12-20)

Explaining differences in rates of evolution
Scientists look to fossils and evolutionary trees to help determine the rate of evolution -- albeit with conflicting results. A new model by ETH researchers has helped to resolve these contradictions. (2018-12-18)

Cardinals living in adjacent deserts are sharply distinct in genetics and song
New research suggests that populations of the Northern Cardinal -- one of the most ubiquitous backyard birds in the United States -- are undergoing speciation in two adjacent deserts. This study, which analyzed genetics and vocal behavior, gives clues about the early steps in bird speciation. (2018-12-12)

Corals and their microbiomes evolved together, new research shows
Corals and the microbes they host evolved together, new research shows, adding fresh insight to the fight to save the Earth's embattled coral reefs. (2018-11-22)

Environmentally-inspired 'niche' features impact species evolution
Tokyo, Japan - Researchers from Tokyo Metropolitan University have shown that the environment-driven evolution of a unique ovipositor in the female fruit fly Drosophila suzukii may have caused coevolution of the male genitalia; new features were found to cause mechanical incompatibility during reproduction with similar species, impeding crossbreeding and isolating the species. The dual role of the female genitalia was found to trigger coevolution and speciation, a generic pathway which may apply to many other organisms. (2018-11-10)

Could rising CO2 trigger return of eradicated mosquito-related disease?
A new study shows for the first time the impact that climate change is having on the rate in which mosquitos diversify, and what this might mean for human health in the future. (2018-11-05)

Could climate change trigger the return of eradicated mosquito-related disease?
The largest ever study of the mosquito evolutionary tree, going back 195 million years, suggests that present-day climate change could result in the spread and return of dangerous mosquito-borne diseases to new places or areas where they had previously been eradicated, scientists are warning. (2018-11-05)

Barn swallows may indeed have evolved alongside humans
The evolution of barn swallows, a bird ubiquitous to bridges and sheds around the world, might be even more closely tied to humans than previously thought, according to new study from the University of Colorado Boulder. (2018-11-01)

How the world's fastest muscle created four unique bird species
When the male bearded manakin snaps its wings at lightning speed, it's more than part of an elaborate, acrobatic mating ritual. The tiny muscle doing the heavy lifting is also the reason this exotic bird has evolved into four distinct species, according to new research published in the journal eLife by Wake Forest University biologist Matthew Fuxjager. (2018-10-30)

Family of rodents may explain how some groups of animals become so diverse
FSU Professor of Biological Science Scott Steppan and his former postdoctoral researcher John Schenk, now at Georgia Southern University, developed a new model that shows how geography can play a major role in how families of animals evolve and result in many species. (2018-10-03)

Well established theories on patterns in evolution might be wrong
How do the large-scale patterns we observe in evolution arise? A new paper in the journal Evolution by researchers at Uppsala University and University of Leeds argues that many of them are a type of statistical artefact caused by our unavoidably recent viewpoint looking back into the past. As a result, it might not be possible to draw any conclusions about what caused the enormous changes in diversity we see through time. (2018-09-27)

Hybridization boosts evolution
International collaboration between researchers from the University of Konstanz, the University of Graz, Graz University of Technology and Florida State University sheds new light on animal speciation. (2018-08-08)

Animal taxonomy: Outwardly identical, yet distinct
All placozoans are superficially identical. But comparative genomic data reported by an LMU team reveals the presence of different genera. This is the first time that a new animal genus has been defined solely by genomics. (2018-07-31)

Do bacteria ever go extinct? New research says yes, bigtime
Bacteria go extinct at substantial rates, although appear to avoid the mass extinctions that have hit larger forms of life on Earth, according to new research from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Caltech, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The finding, published today in Nature Ecology and Evolution, contradicts widely held scientific thinking that microbe taxa, because of their very large populations, rarely die off. (2018-07-30)

From cradles to graves: Modeling the ecology and evolution of biodiversity
Researchers have created a model capable of simulating the complex history of life in South America over thousands of years -- an effort to better understand the many complex factors affecting the emergence, distribution and extinction of species on the continent. (2018-07-19)

The first endemic Baltic Sea fish species received its name
Researchers at the University of Helsinki discovered and named a new endemic fish species in the Baltic Sea, the 'Baltic flounder,' Platichthys solemdali. (2018-07-11)

Frigid polar oceans, not balmy coral reefs, are species-formation hot spots
Tropical oceans teem with the dazzle and flash of colorful reef fishes and contain far more species than the cold ocean waters found at high latitudes. This well-known 'latitudinal diversity gradient' is one of the most famous patterns in biology, and scientists have puzzled over its causes for more than 200 years. (2018-07-04)

For flickers, looks can be deceiving
Despite the obvious visual differences between the Red-shafted Flicker of the west and the Yellow-shafted Flicker of the east, scientists have never before found genetic differences between them. A new study from The Auk: Ornithological Advances uses data from thousands of regions across the genome to distinguish these birds molecularly for the first time. (2018-06-06)

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