What we're reading: Species delimitation failure, the twisty history of a retrovirus, and breeding a better tomato

Reading with a pipe
In the journals
Carstens, B. C., T. a Pelletier, N. M. Reid, and J. D. Satler. 2013. How to fail at species delimitation. Molecular Ecology 22:4369–4383. doi: 10.1111/mec.12413.

… in most contexts it is better to fail to delimit species than it is to falsely delimit entities that do not represent actual evolutionary lineages.

Etienne, L., and M. Emerman. 2013. The mongoose, the pheasant, the pox, and the retrovirus. PLoS Biology 11:e1001641. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001641.

The genomes of two species of mongooses and an egg-laying mammal called an echidna show that a virus currently present in poultry, the reticuloendotheliosis virus (REV), is actually of ancient exotic mammalian origin.

In the news
The latest word on “sequestration” budget cuts in the U.S. is that they’ll cut the purchasing power of the National Institutes of Health by 25 percent, relative to ten years ago.
A plant geneticist working on breeding a better mass-market tomato uses modern genetics to guide old-fashioned controlled crosses.

About Jeremy Yoder

Jeremy B. Yoder is an Assistant 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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