“Punk eek” and speciation

The concept of punctuated evolution – bursts of evolutionary novelty separated by long periods of stasis – was first proposed by Stephen Jay Gould & Niles Eldredge in 1972. Since then, there's been an ongoing debate among evolutionary biologists about how significant ‘punk eek' could be in the evolution of new species. (Remember that they aren't […]

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The risks of sex (well, one of them, anyway)

That got your attention, didn't it? Being male can be a risky business. In a butterfly called Hypolimna bolina, there's a rather nifty bacterial parasite called Wolbachia that has unfortunate effects on male butterflies. It's carried down the maternal line and kills off male embryos. Just the males. This can result in some pretty skewed sex ratios. (And presumably an […]

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Ancient data + modern technology = enhanced understanding

One of the attributes of a successful student is the ability to integrate material from across the curriculum – pulling together knowledge from (say) genetics, evolution, and biotechnology into a coherent whole. Here’s an example of a recent paper that integrates biotechnology techniques and genetics to clarify our understanding of our own evolutionary past.

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