Thursday, October 28, 2010

Human adaptations associated with the use of fire

Interesting new EvAnth paper by Wrangham and Carmody.

Some of the adaptations they discuss are of particular interest for us, eg:

"Reduced body hair, with extra warmth achieved at night by resting near a campfire."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Neanderthal fashion

Project Runway contestants design for Neanderthals

(more evidence that you can post anything on this blog...)

Genomes Unzipped

Public access to personal genomics data from the company 23andMe.

This is a good topic for the 'awesome or not awesome?' ANTH204 debate...

Species Concepts

This is a nice little snippet on species concepts with the great concluding sentence:
" there are n+1 definitions of 'species' in a room of n biologists "

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The energetics of genome complexity

"Virtually every ‘eukaryotic’ trait is also found in prokaryotes, including nucleus-like structures, recombination, linear chromosomes, internal membranes, multiple replicons, giant size, extreme polyploidy, dynamic cytoskeleton, predation, parasitism, introns and exons, intercellular signalling (quorum sensing), endocytosis-like processes and even endosymbionts. Bacteria made a start up virtually every avenue of eukaryotic complexity, but then stopped short. Why?"

The authors suggest that it has everything to do with the energetics of expressing genes and that eukaryotic cells can only express their genes because of their symbioses with mitochondria. Because mitochondrial symbiosis evolved only once, so did eukaryotic cells.

Admittedly, this has very little to do with molecular anthropology, but it's still a fascinating read.

The molecular evolution of ultrasonic hearing in cetaceans

Evolution of the gene Prestin maps closely with the evolution of high-frequency hearing. Furthermore, numerous identical Prestin amino acid changes are shared by whales and bats.

Lamarckian Inheritance in a nematode

Remy found that olfactory imprints of parents (acquired during their lifetime) were inherited by offspring in C. elegans.

Sleep genes

Friday, October 22, 2010

Identifying CNV Hotspots

Flanking SNPs inform CNV mutation rates.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why the leopard got its spots

Interesting paper about felid coloration.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Age and Diet Affect Gene Expression Profiles in Canine Liver Tissue

. . . one more

CNV and Schizophrenia

Timely articles in PLoS ONE today

New article about CNV and amylase in humans

Individual Differences in AMY1 Gene Copy Number, Salivary α-Amylase Levels, and the Perception of Oral Starch

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New articles on animal coloration

Articles about hair structure (with some cool SEM pics) and the relationship between feather color and bacterial resistance.

SEM atlas of hair structure

Otter hair

Parrot feathers & bacterial resistance

Friday, October 8, 2010

Roadmap Epigenomics Project data release

Here is the article I mentioned during our discussion about the release of the first chunk of data from a major epigenomics project.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

An example of the extreme morphological diversity that can result from epigenetic effects...

Here's a photo by Mark Moffett of a minor and major Pheidologeton diversus. And you thought primates were cool...

Monday, October 4, 2010

habitat fragmentation affects howler monkey dispersal

Evidence of reduced gene flow in fragmented forests. Not a surprising result, but an example of how genetic data can help answer questions that would otherwise require years of longitudinal research.