Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Evolution

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

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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

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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

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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

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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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