What we're reading


As we head into the weekend, here’s a few things that we’ve noticed that might be worth your screen time.
In the journals
Wilfert L., Jiggins F. 2012. The dynamics of reciprocal selective sweeps of host resistance and a parasite counter-adaptation in Drosophila. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01832.x.

To illustrate the dynamics of this important but little studied form of coevolution, we have modeled an ongoing arms race between Drosophila melanogaster and the vertically transmitted sigma virus, using parameters we estimated in the field. We integrate these results with previous work showing that the spread of a resistance allele of the ref(2)P gene in the host was followed by the spread of a virus genotype, which overcomes this resistance. In line with these observations, our model predicts that there can be rapid selective sweeps in both the host and parasite, which can drive large changes in the prevalence of infection.

Curtis B. a., Tanifuji G., Burki F., Gruber A., Irimia M., et al. 2012. Algal genomes reveal evolutionary mosaicism and the fate of nucleomorphs. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature11681.

Cryptophyte and chlorarachniophyte algae are transitional forms in the widespread secondary endosymbiotic acquisition of photosynthesis by engulfment of eukaryotic algae. Unlike most secondary plastid-bearing algae, miniaturized versions of the endosymbiont nuclei (nucleomorphs) persist in cryptophytes and chlorarachniophytes. To determine why, and to address other fundamental questions about eukaryote–eukaryote endosymbiosis, we sequenced the nuclear genomes of the cryptophyte Guillardia theta and the chlorarachniophyte Bigelowiella natans.

Tibayrenc M., Ayala F.J. 2012. Reproductive clonality of pathogens: A perspective on pathogenic viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasitic protozoa. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA. 109:E3305–13. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1212452109.

We propose that clonal evolution in micropathogens be defined as restrained recombination on an evolutionary scale, with genetic exchange scarce enough to not break the prevalent pattern of clonal population structure, a definition already widely used for all kinds of pathogens, although not clearly formulated by many scientists and rejected by others.

In the blogosphere
Project EvoMap is putting biology labs and research groups on the, um, geographic visualization.
Are ecologists abusing ANOVA?

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Associate Professor of Biology at California State University Northridge, studying the evolution and coevolution of interacting species, especially mutualists. He is a collaborator with the Joshua Tree Genome Project and the Queer in STEM study of LGBTQ experiences in scientific careers. He has written for the website of Scientific American, the LA Review of Books, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The Awl, and Slate.
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