The R.O.U.S. evolved in an island

We may have solved the origin of Princess Bride’s rodent of unusual size. Mainland size variation informs predictive models of exceptional insular body size change in rodents. The tendency for island populations of mammalian taxa to diverge in body size from their mainland counterparts consistently in particular directions is both impressive for its regularity and,…

Cigarette Butts as Nesting Material Comes with a Cost

Birds using discarded cigarette butts experience short term benefit from the repellent action of the nicotine. In the long term the use of cigarette butts is associated with signs of increased DNA damage.   There is no such a thing as a free cigarette; lining nests with discarded butts brings short-term benefits, but causes toxic…

Low Level Pollution Can Drive Antibiotic Resistance

In short the paper raises the concern of low level of antibiotics and metals in polluted environments driving antibiotic resistance. The first paper is a 1 page, non-technical commentary of the actual study, 2nd link. [Personal Note: This is the 200th post] Widening the Spaces of Selection: Evolution along Sublethal Antimicrobial Gradients and   Selection…

Homo Pugnax

The face can take a lot of force without breaking, the authors propose the protective buttressing is the results of selective pressures due to intra-specific fighting.   Protective buttressing of the hominin face When humans fight hand-to-hand the face is usually the primary target and the bones that suffer the highest rates of fracture are…

Sleeping with the Enemy: Wolves and Livestock Guardian Dogs

Can’t trust anyone…. Gene Flow between Wolf and Shepherd Dog Populations in Georgia (Caucasus) We studied the distribution of the mitochondrial DNA haplotypes and microsatellite genotypes at 8 loci in 102 gray wolves, 57 livestock guarding dogs, and 9 mongrel dogs from Georgia (Caucasus). Most of the studied dogs had mitochondrial haplotypes clustered with presumably…

Retrovirus: don’t it make my brown eggs blue

Vincent Racaniello has written a blog about  this paper and I bow to his expertise. http://www.plosgenetics.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.1003183 An EAV-HP Insertion in 5′ Flanking Region of SLCO1B3 Causes Blue Eggshell in the Chicken Author Summary The eggshell color of birds is of wide interest, but the molecular basis remained unknown until our discovery, reported here. The blue eggshell is found not only in…

Human Enhanced Evolution of Devil Facial Tumour Disease

An interesting case of anthropogenic selection and evolution in the case of Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour disease. To mitigate the progress of disease the government enacted a removal process and in the progress selecting for slower growing tumors. OPEN ACCESS Anthropogenic selection enhances cancer evolution in Tasmanian devil tumours The Tasmanian Devil Facial Tumour Disease…