What we're reading: Sorting out whole-genome duplication, adaptation without tradeoffs, and is science leaving its logistic growth phase?


In the journals
McGrath CL, J-F Gout, P Johri, TG Doak, and M Lynch. Differential retention and divergent resolution of duplicate genes following whole-genome duplication. 2014. Genome Res. 24: 1665-1675. doi: 10.1101/gr.173740.114.

Finally, multiple sources of evidence indicate that [Paramecium] sexaurelia diverged from the two other lineages immediately following, or perhaps concurrent with, the recent WGD, with approximately half of gene losses between P. tetraurelia and P. sexaurelia representing divergent gene resolutions (i.e., silencing of alternative paralogs), as expected for random duplicate loss between these species.

McGee LW, EW Aitchison, SB Caudle, AJ Morrison, L Zheng, et al. 2014. Payoffs, not tradeoffs, in the adaptation of a virus to ostensibly conflicting selective pressures. PLoS Genetics 10(10): e1004611. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004611.

We selected for individual mutations under fluctuating selective pressures for a ssDNA microvirid bacteriophage by alternating selection for increased growth rate with selection on biophysical properties of the phage capsid in high-temperature or low-pH conditions. Surprisingly, none of the seven unique mutations identified showed a pleiotropic cost; they all improved both growth rate and pH or temperature stability, suggesting that single mutations even in a simple genetic system can simultaneously improve two distinct traits.

In the news
“So, this is an attempt to compile a list of videos that people have found helpful for teaching about concepts typically covered in ecology courses (or the ecology section of courses like Intro Bio).”
“… many people around the world carry potentially harmful parasites, from tapeworms to treponema. Shooting these up your anus is a bad idea.”
“Thus, the proportion of scientists relative to the total human population has been increasing for decades, if not centuries. Price makes the startling but obvious outcomes of this observation very clear: either everyone on earth will be a scientist one day, or the growth rate of science must decrease from its previous long-term trends.”

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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