What we're reading: admixed cattle, evolution in response to harvesting, and genetics-targeted advertising


As we head into the weekend, here’s a few things we’ve noticed that might be worth your screen-time.
In the journals
McTavish, E.J., Decker, J.E., Schnabel, R.D., Taylor, J.F. & Hillis, D.M. 2013. New World cattle show ancestry from multiple independent domestication events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1303367110.

In this study, we show that, although European cattle are largely descended from the taurine lineage, gene flow from African cattle (partially of indicine origin) contributed substantial genomic components to both southern European cattle breeds and their New World descendants.

Van Wijk, S.J., Taylor, M.I., Creer, S., Dreyer, C., Rodrigues, F.M., Ramnarine, I.W., et al. 2013. Experimental harvesting of fish populations drives genetically based shifts in body size and maturation. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, doi: 10.1890/120229.

Here, we quantify genetic versus environmental change in response to size-selective harvesting for small and large body size in guppies (Poecilia reticulata) across three generations of selection. We document for the first time significant changes at individual genetic loci, some of which have previously been associated with body size.

Zhan, X., Pan, S., Wang, Junyi, Dixon, A., He, J., Muller, M.G., et al. 2013. Peregrine and saker falcon genome sequences provide insights into evolution of a predatory lifestyle. Nature Genetics, doi: 10.1038/ng.2588.

Analysis of 8,424 orthologs in both  falcons, chicken, zebra finch and turkey identified consistent  evidence for genome-wide rapid evolution in these raptors.

In the news
A new startup proposes to target advertising using genetic information. (What could possibly be wrong with that?)
Our co-blogger Tim Vines takes the “post-publication review” at F1000 Research to the metaphorical woodshed.
In a sort of followup to our most recent Molecular ecology view, here’s a video about surveying salmon spawning with a “hexacopter” drone.

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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