Journal Club

Highlighting recent, timely papers selected by Academy member labs

Category Archives: Evolution

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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Cheaters always prosper, to a point

Is it better to cooperate or cheat? To work for the good of others, or focus on yourself? This classic self vs. group conflict is a common musing of game theorists and experimental economics known as the “public goods dilemma.” … Continue reading

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Some frogs hears with their mouths

One of the world’s smallest frogs, the one-centimeter-long Gardiner’s Seychelle frog, lacks a middle ear with an eardrum yet it can hear. Scientists now find it can use its mouth and bones to hear, findings detailed this week in the … Continue reading

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Economic cost of fisheries-induced evolution suggests using different nets

For over seventy years, fishery managers have gathered data about the Northeast Arctic Atlantic cod in order to better manage this economically important resource. As previous research has shown, fishing induces evolutionary changes, whether selecting for a particular trait or … Continue reading

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The most genetically diverse animal

The humble worm known as C. elegans is famous among biology labs as an experimental workhorse. New findings in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences now boost its obscure relative, C. brenneri, into the limelight, by showing … Continue reading

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Birds’ color palettes speed diversification

The bright, eye-catching colors donned by African glossy starlings are a boon for the birds when it comes to competing for a mate. But the flashy colors are also good for something else: quickly driving the formation of new, diverse … Continue reading

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How observing others’ behavior can increase cooperation

The question of how to get people to work together has bedeviled society for millennia. Now a large-scale field experiment testing how to get more than 2,400 participants to prevent blackouts in the real world is supporting theoretical work on … Continue reading

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Your brain is not that big, get over it

Humans are proud of their brains, and rightfully so. A new comparative analysis suggests however, that we should not be so obsessed with size when considering our smarts. This week evolutionary anthropologists Robert Barton and Chris Venditti report the results … Continue reading

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