What we’re reading: Mating advantages for rare males in guppies, a new species of dolphin in Australian waters, and DNA sequencers on Mars

Reading Corner

In the journals

Hughes, K. A., A. E. Houde, A. C. Price, and F. H. Rodd. 2013. Mating advantage for rare males in wild guppy populations. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature12717.

Hereweuse highly replicatedexperimentalmanipulationsofnatural populations to showthatmales with rare colour patternshave higher reproductive fitness, demonstrating [negative frequency-dependent selection] mediated by sexual selection.

De Mita, S., A. Streng, T. Bisseling, and R. Geurts. 2013. Evolution of a symbiotic receptor through gene duplications in the legume-rhizobium mutualism. New Phytologist. doi: 10.1111/nph.12549.

We show that two rounds of duplication preceded the evolution of the rhizobial symbiosis in legumes. Molecular evolution patterns indicate that the resulting three paralogous gene copies experienced different selective constraints.

Mendez, M., T. J. Jefferson, S.-O. Kolokotronis, M. Krützen, G. J. Parra, T. Collins, G. Minton, R. Baldwin, P. Berggren, A. Särnblad, O. a. Amir, V. M. Peddemors, L. Karczmarski, A. Guissamulo, B. Smith, D. Sutaria, G. Amato, and H. C. Rosenbaum. 2013. Integrating multiple lines of evidence to better understand the evolutionary divergence of humpback dolphins along their entire distribution range: a new dolphin species in Australian waters? Molecular Ecology. doi: 10.1111/mec.12535.

The genetic and morphological data showed significant and concordant patterns of geographical segregation, which are typical for the kind of demographic isolation displayed by species units, across the Sousa genus distribution range. Based on our combined genetic and morphological analyses, there is convincing evidence for at least four species within the genus (S. teuszii in the Atlantic off West Africa, S. plumb in the central and western Indian Ocean, S. chinensis in the eastern Indian and West Pacific Oceans, and a new as-yet-unnamed species off northern Australia).

See also coverage by the BBC.

In the news

Why it shouldn’t bother you that no-one reads your blog.

Even as human geneticists are beginning to realize genetics is a lot messier than they thought, and there are good reasons to think that mathematical ability is more in your confidence than your genes, the developer of the Ion Torrent sequencing system is about to drop about a million bucks on a study of mathematicians’ genetics.

Should we send a DNA sequencer to Mars?

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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