Tuesday, August 31, 2010

aDNA from Moa eggs!

Some big moa species had thin eggshells!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shift Work has a Genetic Basis in Honeybee Pollen Foragers (Apis mellifera L.)

The authors found that the patriline identity of foragers had a significant effect on when they worked during the day

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Epigenetics and caste differentiation in ants

EO Wilson takes down Hamilton?...

New article in Nature uses modeling to argue
"that it is possible for eusocial behaviour to evolve through standard natural-selection processes"
-- that is, no need for kin selection as an explanatory mechanism.

Genetic similarity and cultural similarity in chimps

Insteresting new paper from Kevin et al in ProcRoySoc...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thar She Blows! A Novel Method for DNA Collection from Cetacean Blow

nice title

Expression of clock genes tracks sleeping cycle in humans

Hmm... we have a collection of hair follicles with RNA...
Link to PNAS paper HERE.

ADRB2 polymorphism and athletic performance

Perhaps another candidate gene of interest to Heather...

Lice camouflage!

Dark bird feathers - dark lice; light bird feathers - light lice! Preening as predation...
Ah, so what about primate grooming?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Light hair, dark skin

GNXP has an interesting post on the high frequency of blondes in a Highland population of Papua New Guinea

"Are humans currently evolving?"

Hmmm... interesting review by Steve Stearns et al on detecting selection in contemporary human populations, including examples of clinical datasets that might be useful for such studies

Genetic evidence of local adaptation in humans

Nice Ann Gibbons article on local adaptation in humans, including variants associated with how
"highland Tibetans survive at high altitude. Others allow Yupik Eskimos to stay warm efficiently, Europeans to thrive on cereal grains, and, perhaps, East Asians avoid alcoholism."

Synchronistic mongoose births aid pup survival

exciting new research on synchronistic births in mongoose from Sarah Hodge (Biology Letters).

Does make me wonder when litters are pooled if olfaction is the only means of offspring identification -- or might those stripes (or the patches of ruffed lemurs) play some role?

eik, a "gene for" pain

New paper in Genome Research:

Cacng2 -- "a gene that seems to contribute to chronic pain in a mouse model of human disorders such as phantom limb pain"

Standardizing and regulating private DNA testing companies

Perhaps something to discuss in ANTH204:

..."the Government Accountability Office (GAO) last month unveiled the findings of its year-long investigation into the sci- entific validity, safety and utility of the gene tests used by the industry. The report called some of the tests misleading, pointing out inconsist- encies in the results they provided, as well as some companies’ shady marketing practices."

Detecting mtDNA heteroplasmy using NGS

New AJHG paper out of the Stoneking lab:
using "mtDNA sequence reads for 131 individuals from five Eurasian populations ...We identified 37 heteroplasmies at 10% frequency or higher at 34 sites in 32 individuals."

Horizontal gene transfer in eukaryotes

Interesting new review article on the horizontal transfer of genetic material:
"With over 200 cases now documented, it is possible to assess the importance of horizontal transfer for the evolution of transposable elements and their host genomes. We review criteria for detecting horizontal transfers and examine recent examples of the phenomenon, shedding light on its mechanistic underpinnings, including the role of host–parasite interactions. We argue that the introduction of transposable elements by horizontal transfer in eukaryotic genomes has been a major force propelling genomic variation and biological innovation."

Does the contraceptive pill alter mate choice in humans?

Luumaa & Alvergne reviewed the issue in TREE last year, and debate about their review continues - link HERE

tit for tat citations

At least in Science "There is a ridiculously strong relationship between the number of citations a paper receives and its number of references"

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Two overview articles on detecting selection in contemporary human populations

The first is a news focus from today's Science summarizing recent studies on detecting the genes that underlie human population differences

The second is a review in Nature Review Genetics, but rather than looking directly at the genes the authors propose an approach which links measures of fitness with phenotypic traits

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Genome at 10 -- resources

This NHGRI meeting program from earlier this summer has links to a lot of great resources (slides, articles, commentaries) for teaching... should keep this in mind for ANTH204...

the "not-missing heredity" of morphological variation in dogs

New PLoSBio paper: >900dogs of 80 breeds (+wild), 61k SNPs and morphological measurements --> relatively few loci explain the majority of phenotypic (morphological) variation
(thanks Dieter!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Baboon longevity: friends and status

New Current Biology paper by Silk et al showing: dominance rank and the quality of close social bonds have independent effects on the longevity of female chacma baboons.

Variable tanning, or why spray tans look so unnatural

Paper by the Rees group in Experimental Dermatology suggest that different regions of the body (at least bum vs back) tan at different rates -- areas with previous sun exposure tan more quickly.
Title link to BBC article

Monday, August 9, 2010

NIH letter and the "Great Ape Protection Act"

Debate continues, now in the Senate, on chimps in biomedical research. Title link to ScienceNow article.

Genomic imprinting in the mouse brain

New study of the brain transcriptome of mice shows parental bias for >1300 genes!

Title link is to Perspective by Wilkinson.

function of (linc)RNAs

Recent paper in Science about the function (..regulating epigenetic inheritance) of long (>200nt), intergenic, non-coding RNAs, aka lincRNAs.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Women like red

New paper in the Journal of Experimental Psychology suggesting women are attracted to men wearing red as it denotes status...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Human Edge

interesting NPR series on 'what makes us human", includes tidbits on running, pigmentation, cooking, throwing...

chloroquine over-dose kills pigment production

The mechanism of this might be of interest to us at some point.
New England J of Medicine paper HERE:

genetics of sled dog 'running'

New study in Ostrander lab looking at genetic variation in Alaskan sled dogs that have been phenotypically measured for endurance, speed and "work ethic"...
These data set the stage for mapping studies aimed at finding genes that are associated with athletic attributes integral to the high performing Alaskan sled dog.

will be interesting to see if Heather's candidate genes (ACE1, ACT3) stand out...

"Biased Transmission of Genomes According to Parents of Origin"

Laurent Keller on recent PNAS paper re sex-biased inheritance in ants:

A new study shows that wood ant queens selectively pass the maternally-inherited half of their genome to their daughters and the paternally-inherited half to their sons. This system, which most likely evolved from ancestral hybridization, creates distinct genetic lineages.

relationship between mRNA and protein levels -- a lot of noise

Ugh, something to keep in mind for our small sample qRT-PCR projects:

For this week in Science:
Genetically identical cells in the same environment can show variation in gene expression that may cause phenotypic variation at the single-cell level. But how noisy are most genes?Taniguchi et al. (p. 533; see the Perspective by Tyagi) now report single-cell global profiling of both messenger RNA (mRNA) and proteins in Escherichia coli using a yellow fluorescent protein fusion library. As well as a common extrinsic noise in high-abundance proteins, large fluctuations were observed in low-abundance proteins. Remarkably, in single-cell experiments, mRNA and protein levels for the same gene were uncorrelated.

Title links to Tyagi perspective

Bioko "Island Monkeys Give Clues to Origins of HIV's Ancestor"

Debate continues on timing of monkey->chimp->human transmission of SIV/HIV...

Scientists have argued about the origin of the AIDS epidemic since it surfaced in 1981, but this much is widely accepted today: Sometime around 1931, HIV-1, the main virus driving the epidemic, likely entered humans from chimpanzees, which are infected with a related virus called SIVcpz. The chimp virus, in turn, is a blend of SIVs from two different monkey species.

Craig Venter interview with Der Spiegel


Venter: … For me, it's either faith or science - you can't have both.

SPIEGEL: So you don't consider Collins to be a true scientist?

Venter: Let's just say he's a government administrator.


SPIEGEL: So the Human Genome Project has had very little medical benefits so far?

Venter: Close to zero to put it precisely.

Hm, this interview might provide good fodder for a Genetics and Society discussion in ANTH204

Low metabolism of orangs

Herman Pontzer study shows that:
"orangutans (are) the world's most energy-efficient primate measured, second only to the three-toed sloth as the most energy-efficient placental mammal for its size"
Original PNAS paper link HERE.