Holiday reading: Freeze-resistant angiosperms, genomic differentiation at Evolution Canyon, and a Brave New World for academics online?

chapter and verse
In the journals
Zanne AE, DC Tank, WK Cornwell, et al. 2013. Three keys to the radiation of angiosperms into freezing environments. Nature doi: 10.1038/nature12872.

Here we show that woody clades successfully moved into freezing-prone environments by either possessing transport networks of small safe conduits5 and/or shutting down hydraulic function by dropping leaves during freezing. Herbaceous species largely avoided freezing periods by senescing cheaply constructed aboveground tissue. … By contrast, most deciduous woody lineages had an evolutionary shift to seasonally shedding their leaves only after exposure to freezing (that is, the climate occupancy evolved before the trait).

Hübner S, E Rashkovetsky, YB Kim, JH Oh, K Michalak, D Weiner, AB Korol, E Nevo, P Michalak. 2013.Genome differentiation of Drosophila melanogaster from a microclimate contrast in Evolution Canyon, Israel. PNAS 110:21059-21064. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1321533111.

Long-term studies of Drosophila melanogaster populations inhabiting the canyon have exhibited significant interslope divergence in thermal and drought stress resistance, candidate genes, mobile elements, habitat choice, mating discrimination, and wing-shape variation, all despite close physical proximity of the contrasting habitats, as well as substantial interslope migration. To examine patterns of genetic differentiation at the genome-wide level, we used high coverage sequencing of the flies’ genomes.

In the news
Will new moves to control university employees’ use of online media force online academics to go pseudonymous?
Richard Lenski’s Ten Commandments of statistical inference, and one very important Golden Rule.

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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