Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Evolution

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

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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

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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

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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

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Journal Club: High-throughput sequencing transforms the study of human evolution

In the last five years, great strides have been made in the field of human evolution, such as the sequencing of the Neanderthal genome that revealed that modern humans and Neanderthals interbred, and the discovery of an extinct branch of … Continue reading

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First Look: Banked seed replantings affected by climate change

Plants that are not able to rapidly adapt to climate change may decline and disappear from their previous habitats, prompting dramatic projects such as a doomsday vault for seeds of the world. Now researchers suggest find that seeds banked only … Continue reading

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Wasps selectively pass protective bacteria on to their offspring

Symbiotic microbes are essential for the survival of many animals and plants, but the factors promoting such partnerships remain poorly understood. Now researchers find that wasps can block which bacteria their offspring receive, helping them maintain exclusive partnerships with specific … Continue reading

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Evidence for speciation without geographic isolation seen in “Evolution Canyon”

The birth of a new species, the event known as speciation, is usually thought to happen when one species gets split into two or more physically isolated populations that diverge over time as they accumulate differences without interbreeding. However, it … Continue reading

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Social competition produces sexy sons

Social competition among mice cause mothers to give birth to sexy sons who smell great and die young. This is one of the first studies to demonstrate epigenetic effects contributing to increased mating success in offspring, report biologists in a … Continue reading

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Bats may have been first mammal hosts of malaria

Malaria is a scourge on humanity, afflicting more than 200 million people worldwide annually. Now scientists find bats may have been the first mammals to host the group of parasites that include the germs behind malaria, report findings detailed in … Continue reading

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