As we head into the weekend, here’s a few things we’ve noticed that might be worth your screen-time:
Lau, J. A., and J. T. Lennon. 2012. Rapid responses of soil microorganisms improve plant fitness in novel environments. PNAS 109:14058-14062. DOI 10.1073/pnas.1202319109. — Over several generations of experimental evolution in either drought or wet soil, populations of the plant Brassica rapa didn’t evolve much in response to the soil conditions—but the bacteria in the soil, which the authors allowed to evolve along with the plants, did—and that evolutionary change in the microbes made a big difference for the fitness of the plants.
Leffler, E. M., K. Bullaughey, D. R. Matute, W. K. Meyer, L. Ségurel, A. Venkat, P. Andolfatto et al. 2012. Revisiting an old riddle: What determines genetic diversity levels within species? PLoS Biol 10:e1001388. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001388. — With modern sequencing technology (there’s an introductory clause that’s not gotten repetitive) we can now directly measure species-wide, genome-wide genetic diversity, and relate it to variables thought to help determine it, like census population size, natural selection, and mutation rates.
Harpur, B. A., S. Minaei, C. F. Kent, and A. Zayed. 2012. Management increases genetic diversity of honey bees via admixture. Molecular Ecology 21:4414-4421. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05614.x. — Comparison to their ancestral populations in Europe and Africa reveals that, contrary to the stereotype of domestication, honey bees became more genetically diverse after humans started raising them. The authors note that this suggests that lack of genetic diversity is probably not contributing to declines in domestic bee populations.
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Would you publish a paper as a blog post?
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