What we're reading: The diversification of bacteria, landscape genomics of cottonwood, and the skewed sex ratio of science


In the journals
Plata G., C.S. Henry, and D. Vitkup. 2014. Long-term phenotypic evolution of bacteria. Nature. doi: 10.1038/nature13827.

Overall, bacterial phenotypic evolution can be described by a two-stage process with a rapid initial phenotypic diversification followed by a slow long-term exponential divergence. The observed average divergence trend, with approximately similar fractions of phenotypic properties changing per unit time, continues for billions of years.

Geraldes, A., N. Farzaneh, C. J. Grassa, A. D. McKown, R. D. Guy, S. D. Mansfield, C. J. Douglas, and Q. C. B. Cronk. 2014. Landscape genomics of Populus trichocarpa: the role of hybridization, limited gene flow, and natural selection in shaping patterns of population structure. Evolution. 68(11):3260–3280. doi: 10.1111/evo.12497.

Gene Ontology analyses revealed that FST outliers are overrepresented in genes involved in circadian rhythm and response to red/far-red light when the entire dataset is considered, whereas in southern BC heat response genes are overrepresented.

In the news
“Although we may never fully understand all the reasons that led to the skewed sex ratio problem we experience today, we will at least have cured the ill. And personally I’d rather be rid of the problem while not completely understanding it, than fully understanding it and not having solved it.”
“Below you’ll find a small fraction of those outstanding contemporary female naturalists that you may never have heard of but who are contributing greatly to our understanding of the natural world.”
“The letter disinvites any registrants [for the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene] who’ve cared for people with Ebola in the last three weeks. ‘In Louisiana, we love to welcome visitors, but we must balance that hospitality with the protection of Louisiana residents and other visitors,’ the state officials said.”

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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