Lyme bacteria show that evolvability is evolvable – “Natural selection favours those with a greater capacity to generate genetic variation.”
50,000 generations of bacteria prove that evolution never stops – “[C]omputer models have shown that animals can still experience significant evolutionary changes over time, even in the absence of selectional pressures. Traits like evolvability, or evolutionary potential. Indeed, the Lenski study shows that the same holds true when working with organisms in evolutionary ‘real time.’ The researchers, who performed a comparative analyses of the bacteria after every 500 generations, showed that E. coli will continue to evolve towards increasing replicative efficiency.” – h/t peter turchin! – see also Krazy Kats from greg cochran.
Mystery humans spiced up ancients’ rampant sex lives – “Genome analysis suggests interbreeding between modern humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans and a mysterious archaic population.” – see also: Mystery human species emerges from Denisovan genome.
Out of Africa revisited (entrevista a Chris Stringer) – “To what extent do these differences in evolutionary paths, if any, affect the human biodiversity we see today? That is still unclear, but will become clearer in the next few weeks with the publication of new data….”
Neanderthal virus DNA spotted hiding in modern humans – “The DNA of ancient viruses first spotted in the Neanderthal genome have now been identified in modern humans…. [The researchers] examined the genomes of 67 people with cancer, and found they each contained seven of the sequences supposedly unique to the ancient humans.”
How Our Minds Went Viral – “Based on this research, the scientists propose a scenario. Our ancestors millions of years ago were infected with a virus. Eventually it became lodged in our genome. At some point, a mutation moved the virus enhancer next to the PRODH gene. Further mutations allowed it to helped boost the gene’s activity in certain areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus…. Perhaps our minds are partly the way they are today thanks to an infection our ancestors got a few millions of years ago.” – h/t john durant!
Reconstructing the Population Genetic History of the Caribbean – “‘We find evidence of two pulses of African migration. The first pulse—which today is reflected by shorter, older ancestry tracts—consists of a genetic component more similar to coastal West African regions involved in early stages of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The second pulse—reflected by longer, younger tracts—is more similar to present-day West-Central African populations, supporting historical records of later transatlantic deportation. Surprisingly, we also identify a Latino-specific European component that has significantly diverged from its parental Iberian source populations, presumably as a result of small European founder population size. We demonstrate that the ancestral components in admixed genomes can be traced back to distinct sub-continental source populations with far greater resolution than previously thought, even when limited pre-Columbian Caribbean haplotypes have survived.’” – @dienekes’.
Correlations in the population structure of music, genes and language – “‘[T]he first quantitative evidence that music and genes may have coevolved by demonstrating significant correlations between traditional group-level folk songs and mitochondrial DNA variation among nine indigenous populations of Taiwan.” – @dienekes’.
The Paradox of Diverse Communities – “Their simulations of more than 20 million virtual ‘neighborhoods’ demonstrate a troubling paradox: that community and diversity may be fundamentally incompatible goals…. After 20 million-plus simulations, the authors found that the same basic answer kept coming back: The more diverse or integrated a neighborhood is, the less socially cohesive it becomes, while the more homogenous or segregated it is, the more socially cohesive…. [T]he models demonstrated that it was impossible to simultaneously foster diversity and cohesion ‘in all reasonably likely worlds.’ In fact, the trends are so strong that no effective social policy could combat them, according to Neal. As he put it in a statement, ‘In essence, when it comes to neighborhood desegregation and social cohesion, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.’” – see also original research article: The (In)compatibility of Diversity and Sense of Community [pdf]. – h/t nearly everybody on twitter!
War’s Enduring Effects on the Development of Egalitarian Motivations and In-Group Biases – “[G]reater exposure to war created a lasting increase in people’s egalitarian motivations toward their in-group, but not their out-groups, during a developmental window starting in middle childhood (around 7 years of age) and ending in early adulthood (around 20 years of age). Outside this window, war had no measurable impact on social motivations in young children and had only muted effects on the motivations of older adults.” – h/t t.greer!
It’s nothing to sniff at: Men have bigger noses because of more muscle – “Men may have larger noses than women because they generally have more muscle, demanding larger noses to breathe in more oxygen….” – h/t mr. mangan, esq.!
Rural White Liberals – a Key to Understanding the Political Divide – “there are likely several factors involved in shaping the modern American political landscape. Of which, the strongest may be ethnonational origin. This is buttressed by population density pressure, founder effects, internal self-sorting, and perhaps even recent evolution.” – from jayman.
John Horgan and the “Warfare is Innate” Red Herring – “The Blank Slate may be dead, but its zombies still walk among us.” – (~_^) – from helian.
Open letter to Morten Kjeldgaard – (~_^) – from elijah. – see also Was the Scientific Dishonesty Minister trying to suppress population estimates? from dr. james thompson.
The White man has no friends – “Over the past millennium, Western Europeans have created a social environment where the individual is largely free from collective ties of kinship and ethnicity. Because the State has imposed a monopoly on the use of violence, there is less need to rely on kinsmen to safeguard one’s life and property.” (and ’cause of The Outbreeding Project, too, imho. (^_^) ) – from peter frost.
Borjas, Grogger, and Hanson: Immigrant and Native Complementarity – “George Borjas, Jeffrey Grogger, and Gordon Hanson have a new paper, and it’s not good news for the Ottaviano and Peri result that immigration can cause native wages to increase due to strong complementarities between native and immigrant labor.” – h/t heartiste!
bonus: William Pollack Dies at 87; His Vaccine Saved Infants – “William Pollack, a medical researcher who helped develop a vaccine that virtually eradicated a disease [Rh disease] once responsible for 10,000 infant deaths a year in the United States, died on Nov. 3 in Yorba Linda, Calif. He was 87.” – malcom pollack‘s dad. =( see also: William Pollack, R.I.P. from mr. mangan, esq.
bonus bonus bonus: I’ve realised why I like the Dutch so much: they invented capitalism – from dan hannan. (just missing the biology! (~_^) ) – see also: The World of English Freedoms – “It’s no accident that the English-speaking nations are the ones most devoted to law and individual rights, writes Daniel Hannan.”
bonus bonus bonus bonus: It’s time to confront this taboo: First cousin marriages in Muslim communities [in the u.k.] are putting hundreds of children at risk – “Many NHS doctors, while admitting privately there is a crisis, refuse to speak out for fear of being branded ‘racist’.”
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Wine: Drinking in the Mother Vine – “[R]eportedly the oldest cultivated grapevine in North America.”
bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus bonus: Scientists date world’s oldest animal at 507 years old — after they accidentally kill it – *facepalm* – h/t nelson!
(note: comments do not require an email. ming – the ex-world’s oldest animal.)