Archive for the ‘evolution’ category: Page 5

Aug 4, 2023

Scientists Uncover a Surprising Link Between Pure Mathematics and Genetics

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, encryption, evolution, genetics, mathematics

An interdisciplinary team of mathematicians, engineers, physicists, and medical scientists has discovered a surprising connection between pure mathematics and genetics. This connection sheds light on the structure of neutral mutations and the evolution of organisms.

Number theory, the study of the properties of positive integers, is perhaps the purest form of mathematics. At first sight, it may seem far too abstract to apply to the natural world. In fact, the influential American number theorist Leonard Dickson wrote “Thank God that number theory is unsullied by any application.”

And yet, again and again, number theory finds unexpected applications in science and engineering, from leaf angles that (almost) universally follow the Fibonacci sequence, to modern encryption techniques based on factoring prime numbers. Now, researchers have demonstrated an unexpected link between number theory and evolutionary genetics.

Aug 3, 2023

DNA tilts and stretches underlie differences in mutation rates across genomes

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, evolution, genetics, health

Each cell in the body stores its genetic information in DNA in a stable and protected form that is readily accessible for the cell to carry on its activities. Nevertheless, mutations—changes in genetic information—occur throughout the human genome and can have a powerful influence on human health and evolution.

“Our team is interested in a classical question about mutation—why do in the genome vary so tremendously from one DNA location to another? We just do not have a clear understanding of why this occurs,” said Dr. Md. Abul Hassan Samee, assistant professor of integrative physiology at Baylor College of Medicine and corresponding author of the work.

Previous studies have shown that the DNA sequences flanking a mutated position—the sequence context—play a strong role in the mutation rate. “But this explanation still leaves unanswered questions,” Samee said. “For example, one type of mutation occurs frequently in a specific sequence context while a different type of mutation occurs infrequently in that same sequence context. So, we think that a different mechanism could explain how mutation rates vary in the genome. We know that each building block or base that makes up a DNA sequence has its own 3D chemical shape. We proposed, therefore, that there is a connection between DNA shape and rates, and this paper shows that our idea was correct.”

Aug 1, 2023

Bacterial–fungal interactions promote parallel evolution of global transcriptional regulators in a widespread Staphylococcus species

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, food

Experimental studies of microbial evolution have largely focused on monocultures of model organisms, but most microbes live in communities where interactions with other species may impact rates and modes of evolution. Using the cheese rind model microbial community, we determined how species interactions shape the evolution of the widespread food-and animal-associated bacterium Staphylococcus xylosus. We evolved S. xylosus for 450 generations alone or in co-culture with one of three microbes: the yeast Debaryomyces hansenii, the bacterium Brevibacterium aurantiacum, and the mold Penicillium solitum. We used the frequency of colony morphology mutants (pigment and colony texture phenotypes) and whole-genome sequencing of isolates to quantify phenotypic and genomic evolution. The yeast D. hansenii strongly promoted diversification of S. xylosus.

Jul 31, 2023

Legionarii — The State

Posted by in categories: blockchains, evolution

A brave new world metropolis.

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Jul 28, 2023

Scientists Resurrected an Extinct Animal Frozen for 46,000 Years in Siberia

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

The astonishing discovery is “important for the understanding of evolutionary processes because generation times could be stretched from days to millennia, and long-term survival of individuals of species can lead to the refoundation of otherwise extinct lineages,” according to a study published on Thursday in the journal PLoS Genetics.

“Their evolution was literally suspended for 40k years,” wrote Philipp Schiffer, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Cologne and a co-author of the study, in an email to Motherboard.

“We are now comparing them to species from the same genus, which my team samples around the world,” he continued, noting that he is currently conducting fieldwork in the Australian Outback. “Studying their genomes we hope to understand a lot about how these populations became different in the last 40k years.”

Jul 28, 2023

Twitter Has Undeniably Gotten Better Under Elon Musk

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, evolution

Opinion Piece. What’s your opinion?

The social media platform formerly known as Twitter has gone through another remarkable evolution thanks to owner Elon Musk. The platform is now called “X” and is even sporting a brand spanking new logo. The blue bird has taken its last flight and the site seems poised to bring its users into the next venture in the Muskverse.

But not everyone has been happy with the changes Musk has made since taking over the company. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) recently went after Musk for the supposed harassment she receives on the platform. It seems that since the day he bought the social media company, he has been making leftists’ heads explode, and AOC is far from an exception in claiming she “never experienced more harassment on this platform” than she does now. She also claimed people “now pay to give their harassment more visibility.”

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Jul 27, 2023

How the Microbiome Influences Immunity in Drosophila

Posted by in category: evolution

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs)—small peptides that protect against microbial infection—are crucial immune effectors in both plants and animals. They not only fight against potential infections, they also influence the composition of the host’s microbiome. Little is known about the driving forces behind AMPs’ rapid evolution. Now, a study uncovers the selective pressures driving the evolution of AMPs and how they control bacteria in the host’s microbiome.

The work is published in Science in the paper, “Ecology-relevant bacteria drive the evolution of host antimicrobial peptides in Drosophila.”

The researchers focused on Diptericin (Dpt), a small antimicrobial peptide that mainly defends Drosophila against Gram-negative bacteria. The team examined how Diptericins function in Drosophila and evolve in response to their microbial environment.

Jul 25, 2023

What Happens When Scientists Put a Human Intelligence Gene Into a Monkey?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics, neuroscience

Scientists adding a human intelligence gene into monkeys — it’s the kind of thing you’d see in a movie like Rise of the Planet of the Apes. But Chinese researchers have done just that, improving the short-term memories of the monkeys in a study published in March 2019 in the Chinese journal National Science Review. While some experts downplayed the effects as minor, concerns linger over where the research may lead.

The goal of the work, led by geneticist Bing Su of Kunming Institute of Zoology, was to investigate how a gene linked to brain size, MCPH1, might contribute to the evolution of the organ in humans. All primates have some variation of this gene. However, compared with other primates, our brains are larger, more advanced and slower to develop; the researchers wondered whether differences that evolved in the human version of MCPH1 might explain our more complex brains.

Article from 2019

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Jul 24, 2023

Primal Eye

Posted by in category: evolution

Steve Nichols’s research from 1979 concerning the early evolution of mind, E2 to E1. Latest research see

Jul 24, 2023

An Enormous Cosmological Simulation Wraps Up, Recreating Even More of the Universe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, particle physics

There’s an old joke among astronomy students about a question on the final exam for a cosmology class. It goes like this: “Describe the Universe and give three examples.” Well, a team of researchers in Germany, the U.S., and the UK took a giant leap toward giving at least one accurate example of the Universe.

To do it, they used a set of simulations called “MillenniumTNG”. It traces the buildup of galaxies and cosmic structure across time. It also provides new insight into the standard cosmological model of the Universe. It’s the latest in cosmological simulations, joining such ambitious efforts as the AbacusSummit project of a couple of years ago.

This simulation project takes into account as many aspects of cosmic evolution as possible. It uses simulations of regular (baryonic) matter (which is what we see in the Universe). It also includes dark matter, neutrinos, and the still-mysterious dark energy on the formation mechanisms of the Universe. That’s a tall order.

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