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Ensayos sobre la evolución biológica
Autor: Antonio Barbadilla
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona



Science Daily:
Evolutionary Biology  News

Evolutionary Biology
Recent Headlines

Headline (Posted) Abstract
How snowshoe hares evolved to stay seasonally camouflaged (21 Jun 2018) Many animals have evolved fur or feather colors to blend in with the environment and hide from predators. But how do animals stay camouflaged when their environment changes with each new season? For snowshoe hares, hybridization plays an important role in their ability to match their environment, new research shows.

Fish's use of electricity might shed light on human illnesses (21 Jun 2018) African weakly electric fish, commonly called baby whales, use incredibly brief electrical pulses to sense the world around them and communicate with other members of their species. Part of that electrical mechanism exists in humans -- and by studying these fish, scientists may unlock clues about conditions like epilepsy.

First ancient syphilis genomes decoded (21 Jun 2018)
An international research team has recovered the first historic genomes from the bacterium Treponema pallidum, which causes syphilis. It was previously not thought possible to recover DNA of this bacterium from ancient samples. In the study, the researchers were able to distinguish genetically between the subspecies of the disease that cause syphil [+]

Not junk: 'Jumping gene' is critical for early embryo (21 Jun 2018) A so-called 'jumping gene' that researchers long considered either genetic junk or a pernicious parasite is actually a critical regulator of the first stages of embryonic development, according to a new study.

T. Rex couldn't stick out its tongue (20 Jun 2018)
Dinosaurs are often depicted as fierce creatures, baring their teeth, with tongues wildly stretching from their mouths like giant, deranged lizards. But new research reveals a major problem with this classic image: Dinosaurs couldn't stick out their tongues like lizards. Instead, their tongues were probably rooted to the bottoms of their mouths in [+]

Fossils show ancient primates had grooming claws as well as nails (20 Jun 2018) Humans and other primates are outliers among mammals for having nails instead of claws. But how, when and why we transitioned from claws to nails has been an evolutionary head-scratcher.

Strange sponge-like fossil creature from half a billion years ago (19 Jun 2018) A discovery of a new species of sponge-like fossil from the Cambrian Period sheds light on early animal evolution.

Is the sky the limit? On the expansion threshold of a species' range (19 Jun 2018)
What stops a species adapting to an ever-wider range of conditions, continuously expanding its geographic range? A biomathematician now explains the formation of species' range margins. The theory shows that just two compound parameters, important for both ecology and evolution of species, are fundamental to the stability of their range: the enviro [+]

22,000-year-old panda from cave in Southern China belongs to distinct, long-lost lineage (18 Jun 2018)
Researchers who've analyzed ancient mitochondrial (mt)DNA isolated from a 22,000-year-old panda found in Cizhutuo Cave in the Guangxi Province of China -- a place where no pandas live today -- have revealed a new lineage of giant panda. The report shows that the ancient panda separated from present-day pandas 144,000 to 227,000 years ago, suggestin [+]

In the gaping mouth of ancient crocodiles (18 Jun 2018) A new study has endeavoured to further explore the mouth of one of the earliest occurring and least understood groups of crocodilians, the shartegosuchids.

Microbe breaks 'universal' DNA rule by using two different translations (14 Jun 2018) DNA is often referred to as the blueprint for life, however scientists have for the first time discovered a microbe that uses two different translations of the DNA code at random. This unexpected finding breaks what was thought to be a universal rule, since the proteins from this microbe cannot be fully predicted from the DNA sequence.

Amber fossils provide oldest evidence of frogs in wet, tropical forests (14 Jun 2018) 99-million-year-old amber fossils from Myanmar provide the earliest evidence of frogs in wet, tropical forests.

RNA changes aided sunflower's rapid evolutionary transformation, domestication (11 Jun 2018) A new study sheds light on the genetic mechanisms that allowed sunflowers to undergo a relatively rapid evolutionary transition from wild to domesticated in just over 5,000 years.

Pandoravirus: Giant viruses invent their own genes (11 Jun 2018) Three new members have been added to the Pandoravirus family. Researchers offer an explanation to their puzzling giant genomes with many orphan genes: pandoviruses appear to be factories for new genes -- and therefore new functions. From freaks of nature to evolutionary innovators, giant viruses continue to shake branches on the tree of life!

Oldest bubonic plague genome decoded (08 Jun 2018) An international team has analyzed two 3,800-year-old Y. pestis genomes that suggest a Bronze Age origin for bubonic plague. The study shows that this strain is the oldest sequenced to date that contains the virulence factors considered characteristic of the bubonic plague and is ancestral to the strain that caused the Black Death.

'Monstrous' new Russian saber-tooth fossils clarify early evolution of mammal lineage (08 Jun 2018) Fossils representing two new species of saber-toothed prehistoric predators have been described. These new species improve the scientists' understanding of an important interval in the early evolution of mammals -- a time, between mass extinctions, when the roles of certain carnivores changed drastically.

Improved ape genome assemblies provide new insights into human evolution (07 Jun 2018)
Higher-quality assemblies of great ape genomes have now been generated without guidance of the human reference genome. They provide a clearer view of genetic differences that arose as humans diverged from other primates. The newest investigation offers the most comprehensive catalog of genetic variants that were gained or lost in different ape line [+]

First tetrapods of Africa lived within the Devonian Antarctic Circle (07 Jun 2018) The first African fossils of Devonian tetrapods (four-legged vertebrates) show these pioneers of land living within the Antarctic circle, 360 million years ago.

Deadly behavior-modifying weapon identified in insect-world chemical arms race (07 Jun 2018)
New research joins the dots between zombie ants, an insect-world arms race and the search for new antibiotics. Scientists probing one of the mysteries of the insect world identified a powerful chemical weapon used in the arms race between fungus-farming leafcutter ants and the parasites that plague them. It is hoped that the findings will help scie [+]

Camouflaged plants use the same tricks as animals (06 Jun 2018) Plants use many of the same methods as animals to camouflage themselves, a new study shows.

For flickers, looks can be deceiving (06 Jun 2018) 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 uses data from thousands of regions across the genome to distinguish these birds molecularly for the first time.

You talking to me? Scientists try to unravel the mystery of 'animal conversations' (06 Jun 2018) An international team of academics undertook a large-scale review of research into turn-taking behavior in animal communication, analyzing hundreds of animal studies.

New approach boosts effort to scale up biodiversity monitoring (01 Jun 2018) The value of ecological biodiversity for maintaining ecosystem stability and function is well established, but a recent study points to a novel way to fine-tune our ability to measure it at larger scales.

Bacteria ensure square meal for bloodsucking ticks (31 May 2018)
How do ticks live solely on blood? A study has elucidated the crucial role played by symbiotic bacteria that synthesize B vitamins. These nutrients are scarcely found in the blood ticks ingest but are essential to their life cycle. The study has also shown that the bacteria inherited their B vitamin synthesis pathways from a pathogenic ancestor who [+]

Scientists rethink co-evolution of marine life, oxygenated oceans (31 May 2018) Researchers have confirmed that rising oceanic and atmospheric oxygen levels co-evolved with marine life hundreds of millions of years ago.

World’s oldest lizard fossil discovered (30 May 2018) Paleontologists have identified the world's oldest lizard, providing key insight into the evolution of modern lizards and snakes.

Huddling for survival: monkeys with more social partners can winter better (30 May 2018)
Wild monkeys which have more social partners form larger huddles in adverse weather and have a better chance of surviving winter, new research has found. The study is the first to show that such social bonding may be connected to higher 'fitness' -- the term used by scientists to measure of how well animals can cope with their local ecological cond [+]

Prehistoric teeth dating back two million years reveal details on Africa's paleoclimate (29 May 2018)
New research shows that the climate of the interior of southern Africa almost two million years ago was much wetter than the modern environment. This first extensive paleoenvironmental sequence for the interior of southern Africa suggests that human ancestors were living in environments other than open, arid grasslands known from East African resea [+]

How eye loss occurs in blind cavefish (29 May 2018)
Loss of eye tissue in blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus), which occurs within a few days of their development, happens through epigenetic silencing of eye-related genes, according to a new study. Epigenetic regulation is a process where genes are turned off or on, typically in a reversible or temporary manner. This mechanism differs from genetic m [+]

The mystery of masculinization in Daphnia magna unraveled (29 May 2018) Researchers discovered lncRNAs to activate the male-determining gene doublesex1 (Dsx1) necessary for sex determination in the crustacean Daphnia magna.

Climate change forced zombie ant fungi to adapt (29 May 2018) Zombie ants clamp on to aerial vegetation and hang for months spewing the spores of their parasitic fungi, but researchers noticed that they do not always clamp on to the same part of the plant. Now the researchers know that the choice of leaves or twigs is related to climate and that climate change forced the fungi to adapt to local conditions.

Could we work together with our bacteria to stop infection? (29 May 2018)
The benefits of antibiotics to both human and animal health are undisputed. However, as microbes have become increasingly resistant to antimicrobials and other drugs, scientists have become interested in new solutions to the growing superbug crisis, including the use of defensive microbes and fecal transplants. In new research, scientists have deve [+]

Dino-bird dandruff research head and shoulders above rest (28 May 2018) Palaeontologists have discovered 125 million-year-old dandruff preserved amongst the plumage of feathered dinosaurs and early birds, revealing the first evidence of how dinosaurs shed their skin.

Virus genes from city pond rescue bacteria (28 May 2018) A key question in evolutionary biology is how new functions arise. New research shows that bacteriophages (viruses that infect bacteria) can contribute to new functions by revealing hidden potential in their bacterial hosts.

A genetic algorithm predicts the vertical growth of cities (25 May 2018)
The increase of skyscrapers in a city resembles the development of some living systems. Researchers have created an evolutionary genetic algorithm that, on the basis of the historical and economic data of an urban area, can predict what its skyline could look like in the coming years. The method has been applied successfully to the thriving Minato [+]

Imminent extinction of northern white rhinoceros motivates genetic recovery efforts (24 May 2018)
Earlier this year, the last remaining male northern white rhinoceros (NWR) died in captivity, nearly cementing the fate of this subspecies for extinction. In the wild, continuing threats of poaching, habitat destruction, and small population size have contributed to the rhinos' status as critically endangered. Yet, novel conservation efforts that m [+]

Mongooses inherit behavior from role models rather than parents (24 May 2018) Young mongooses learn lifelong habits from role models rather than inheriting them from genetic parents, new research shows.

Plant symbioses -- fragile partnerships (24 May 2018) Symbioses between plants and nitrogen-fixing bacteria can be ecologically advantageous for both parties. Surprisingly, many partnerships, including some involving the ancestors of several modern fruits such as strawberries, blackberries and apples, have been dissolved during evolution.

400-million-year-old evolutionary arms race helps researchers understand HIV (24 May 2018) Researchers were interested in the origin of a gene that encodes for protein, HERC5, shown to potently inhibit HIV. Scientists show that the gene first emerged in fish over 400 million years ago and has been involved in an evolutionary arms race with viruses ever since.

'Uniquely human' muscles have been discovered in apes (23 May 2018)
Muscles believed to be unique to humans have been discovered in several ape species, challenging long-held anthropocentric theories on the origin and evolution of human soft tissues. This questions the view that certain muscles evolved to provide special adaptations for human traits, such as walking on two legs, tool use, and sophisticated vocal co [+]