Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Evolution

Journal Club: Analysis of bony fishes suggests convergent evolution is more prevalent than previously thought

Habitats and environmental pressures shape a variety of animal morphologies and behaviors over vast evolutionary time scales. These environmental pressures can sometimes produce nearly identical traits, even in completely unrelated lineages. This phenomenon, called convergent evolution, results in modern species that appear very similar despite … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Evolution | Journal Club | Statistics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Fruit fly hybrids make poor foragers, offering insight into how species remain distinct

  When one fruit fly species meets another, they sometimes interbreed. And yet despite this genetic mixing, distinct species still persist—over 2,000 of them. Evolutionary biologist Daniel Matute of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Evolution | Genetics | Journal Club | Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Animals that glow for courtship have more species

The distinct blinking pattern of fireflies enables mate recognition and, thus, the perpetuation of the species. But it seems this flashy courtship ritual could be driving the formation of new species, too. A new analysis of diverse animal lineages—from octopuses … Continue reading

Categories: Biochemistry | Evolution | Journal Club | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Ancient fish moving to land used their tails as crutches

The evolution from fish living in water to vertebrates living on land was one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the animal kingdom. Now scientists using robot fish suggest that these ancient pioneers may have used their … Continue reading

Categories: Developmental Biology | Engineering | Evolution | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Charred fossilized eggs suggest that humans contributed to Australia’s megafaunal extinction

A huge flightless bird known as Genyornis newtoni once roamed the Australian Outback along with a host of other giant animals. Now scientists have unearthed what may be the first reliable evidence that humans contributed to the extinction of these … Continue reading

Categories: Anthropology | Applied Biological Sciences | Evolution | Journal Club | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: A new take on why tumors develop drug resistance

Cancer’s notorious resistance to therapy is often explained as the result of natural selection of newly mutating cells. Cancer-killing drugs wipe out nearly all of a tumor’s cells, but random mutations may allow for drug resistance in some cells, and … Continue reading

Categories: Cell Biology | Evolution | Journal Club | Medical Sciences | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Epigenetic marks may reveal how the environment affected ancient societies

Ancient DNA can shed light on the past in myriad ways — for instance, genes and mutations may reveal important adaptations or physiological changes. But gene-regulating molecules latched onto the DNA, known as epigenetic marks, may also reveal important clues. … Continue reading

Categories: Anthropology | Environmental Sciences | Evolution | Genetics | Journal Club | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Study reveals most comprehensive snake family tree to date

Snakes are incredibly diverse, with more than 3,400 living species found on land and in the water. But little is known about how the first serpents looked and behaved. Now scientists at Yale University have reconstructed what the ancestor of … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Genetics | Journal Club | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Newly found mutation contributes to irregular chromosome number, a major cause of pregnancy loss

When a baby does not make it to term, an irregular number of chromosomes in the embryo is often the root cause. The phenomenon, known as aneuploidy, is surprisingly common: it can be detected in roughly three-quarters of human embryos … Continue reading

Categories: Evolution | Genetics | Journal Club | Reproductive biology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Journal Club: Age of ‘Little Foot’ provides twist in story of hominid evolution

An early hominid named Little Foot has been dated to 3.67 million years old, making the timeline of human evolution even more complicated. Little Foot was found in a cave at Sterkfontein in South Africa, an hour’s drive from Johannesburg … Continue reading

Categories: Anthropology | Evolution | Journal Club | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment