What we're reading: The Y chromosome, climate change versus forests, and a postdoc's job description

Caught Reading
In the journals
Cortez, D., R. Marin, D. Toledo-Flores, L. Froidevaux, A. Liechti, P. D. Waters, F. Grützner, and H. Kaessmann. 2014. Origins and functional evolution of Y chromosomes across mammals. Nature 508:488–93. doi: 10.1038/nature13151.

Despite expression decreases in therians, Y/W genes show notable conservation of proto-sex chromosome expression patterns, although various Y genes evolved testis-specificities through differential regulatory decay. Thus, although some genes evolved novel functions through spatial/temporal expression shifts, most Y genes probably endured, at least initially, because of dosage constraints.

Schueler, S., W. Falk, J. Koskela, F. Lefèvre, M. Bozzano, J. Hubert, H. Kraigher, R. Longauer, and D. C. Olrik. 2014. Vulnerability of dynamic genetic conservation units of forest trees in Europe to climate change. Global Change Biology 20:1498–511. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12476.

Compared to the overall climate niche of the analysed target species populations at the warm and dry end of the species niche are underrepresented in the network. However, by 2100, target species in 33–65 %of conservation units, mostly located in southern Europe, will be at the limit or outside the species’ current climatic niche as demonstrated by favourabilities below required model sensitivities of 95%.

In the news
“… the take home message is that there is currently no definitive evidence one way or another about whether most results are false.”
“So in summary, my recommendations are: learn to turn your research outputs into papers, and learn how to produce research outputs in a short space of time; learn skills that are rare and in high demand; and learn how to take projects to completion.”
“As scientists, we like to think that we are measuring things accurately, and tend to be disturbed at the idea that we might be systematically biased in our measurements. So, the idea that we might systematically be underestimating the abilities of a large portion of our students is something most of us would find disturbing.”

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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