What we’re reading

"Sun" newspaper reading under Isaac Newton, British Library Piazza

As we head into the weekend, here’s a few things we’ve noticed that might be worth your screen-time.

In the journals

Zhen, Y., M. L. Aardema, E. M. Medina, M. Schumer and P. Andolfatto. 2012. Parallel molecular evolution in an herbivore community. Science 337:1634–7. DOI: 10.1126/science.1226630.

We surveyed the protein target for cardenolides, the alpha subunit of the sodium pump, Na(+),K(+)-ATPase (ATPα), in 14 [insect] species that feed on cardenolide-producing plants and 15 outgroups spanning three insect orders. Despite the large number of potential targets for modulating cardenolide sensitivity, amino acid substitutions associated with host-plant specialization are highly clustered, with many parallel substitutions.

Ellegren, H., L. Smeds, R. Burri, P. I. Olason, N. Backström, T. Kawakami, A. Künstner, H. Mäkinen, K. Nadachowska-Brzyska, A. Qvarnström, S. Uebbing and J. B. W. Wolf. 2012. The genomic landscape of species divergence in Ficedula flycatchers. Nature 1–5.DOI: 10.1038/nature11584

The naturally hybridizing collared flycatcher and pied flycatcher are important avian speciation models that show pre- as well as postzygotic isolation. We sequenced and assembled the 1.1-Gb flycatcher genome, physically mapped the assembly to chromosomes using a low-density linkage map and re-sequenced population samples of each species.

Oppenheim, S., F. Gould and K. Hopper. 2012. The genetic architecture of a complex trait: Host plant use in the specialist moth, Heliothis subflexa. Evolution 3336–3351. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01712.x

We used genetic mapping to examine the genetic architecture of differences in host plant use between two species of noctuid moths, Heliothis subflexa, a specialist on Physalis spp., and its close relative, the broad generalist H. virescens. We introgressed H. subflexa chromosomes into the H. virescens background and analyzed 1462 backcross insects.

In the blogosphere

Did you miss the first-ever Molecular Ecology Online Forum on Wednesday? Well, you can read the whole discussion right here.

Infant echidnas are apparently called “puggles,” and they are every bit as cute/weird/amusing as that name implies.

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About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy Yoder is an Assistant Professor of Biology at California State University, Northridge. He also blogs at Denim and Tweed, and tweets under the handle @jbyoder.
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