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Evolutionary biology

Jenny Y Y Lau, Chun-Chiu Pang, Lawrence Ramsden, Richard M K Saunders
The floral phenology, pollination ecology and breeding systems of two sympatric early-divergent angiosperms, Goniothalamus tapisoides and G. suaveolens (Annonaceae) are compared. The flowers are protogynous and morphologically similar, with anthesis over 23-25 h. Both species are predominantly xenogamous and pollinated by small beetles: G. tapisoides mainly by Curculionidae and G. suaveolens mainly by Nitidulidae. Coevolution and reproductive resource partitioning, reducing interspecific pollen transfer, is achieved by temporal isolation, due to contrasting floral phenologies; and ethological isolation, due to contrasting floral scents that contain attractants specific to the two beetle families...
October 21, 2016: Scientific Reports
Sajjad Karim, Hend Fakhri NourEldin, Heba Abusamra, Nada Salem, Elham Alhathli, Joel Dudley, Max Sanderford, Laura B Scheinfeldt, Sudhir Kumar
BACKGROUND: Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have become a mainstay of biological research concerned with discovering genetic variation linked to phenotypic traits and diseases. Both discrete and continuous traits can be analyzed in GWAS to discover associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and traits of interest. Associations are typically determined by estimating the significance of the statistical relationship between genetic loci and the given trait. However, the prioritization of bona fide, reproducible genetic associations from GWAS results remains a central challenge in identifying genomic loci underlying common complex diseases...
October 17, 2016: BMC Genomics
Andrea Tarallo, Maria Cristina Gambi, Giuseppe D'Onofrio
A comparative analysis of polychaete species, classified as motile and low-motile forms, highlighted that the former were characterized not only by a higher metabolic rate (MR), but also by a higher genomic GC content. The fluctuation of both variables was not affected by the phylogenetic relationship of the species. Thus, present results further support that a very active lifestyle affects at the same time MR and GC, showing an unexpected similarity between invertebrates and vertebrates. In teleost, indeed, a similar pattern has been also observed comparing migratory and non-migratory species...
October 7, 2016: Physiological Genomics
Lucas C Wheeler, Micah T Donor, James S Prell, Michael J Harms
The S100 proteins are a large family of signaling proteins that play critical roles in biology and disease. Many S100 proteins bind Zn2+, Cu2+, and/or Mn2+ as part of their biological functions; however, the evolutionary origins of binding remain obscure. One key question is whether divalent transition metal binding is ancestral, or instead arose independently on multiple lineages. To tackle this question, we combined phylogenetics with biophysical characterization of modern S100 proteins. We demonstrate an earlier origin for established S100 subfamilies than previously believed, and reveal that transition metal binding is widely distributed across the tree...
2016: PloS One
Emily R Troemel
Microsporidia comprise a phylum of obligate intracellular pathogens related to fungi that infect virtually all animals. Recently, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been developed as a convenient model for studying microsporidia infection in a whole-animal host through the identification and characterization of a natural microsporidian pathogen of this commonly studied laboratory organism. The C. elegans natural microsporidian pathogen is named Nematocida parisii, and it causes a lethal intestinal infection in C...
October 2016: Microbiology Spectrum
Katherine R Amato
Research examining the gut microbiota is currently exploding, and results are providing new perspectives on human biology. Factors such as host diet and physiology influence the composition and function of the gut microbiota, which in turn affects human nutrition, health, and behavior via interactions with metabolism, the immune system, and the brain. These findings represent an exciting new twist on familiar topics, and as a result, gut microbiome research is likely to provide insight into unresolved biological mechanisms driving human health...
October 20, 2016: American Journal of Human Biology: the Official Journal of the Human Biology Council
Laure D Sultan, Daria Mileshina, Felix Grewe, Katarzyna Rolle, Sivan Abudraham, Paweł Głodowicz, Adnan Khan Niazi, Ido Keren, Sofia Shevtsov, Liron Klipcan, Jan Barciszewski, Jeffrey P Mower, Andre Dietrich, Oren Ostersetzer
Group II introns are large catalytic RNAs that are ancestrally related to nuclear spliceosomal introns. Sequences corresponding to group II RNAs are found in many prokaryotes and are particularly prevalent within plants organellar genomes. Proteins encoded within the introns themselves (maturases) facilitate the splicing of their own host pre-RNAs. Mitochondrial introns in plants have diverged considerably in sequence and have lost their maturases. In angiosperms, only a single maturase has been retained in the mitochondrial DNA: the matR gene found within NADH dehydrogenase 1 (nad1) intron 4...
October 19, 2016: Plant Cell
Kayvan Etebari, Sultan Asad, Guangmei Zhang, Sassan Asgari
Long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) are appearing as an important class of regulatory RNAs with a variety of biological functions. The aim of this study was to identify the lincRNA profile in the dengue vector Aedes aegypti and evaluate their potential role in host-pathogen interaction. The majority of previous RNA-Seq transcriptome studies in Ae. aegypti have focused on the expression pattern of annotated protein coding genes under different biological conditions. Here, we used 35 publically available RNA-Seq datasets with relatively high depth to screen the Ae...
October 2016: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Jason T Huff, Daniel Zilberman, Scott W Roy
The discovery of introns four decades ago was one of the most unexpected findings in molecular biology. Introns are sequences interrupting genes that must be removed as part of messenger RNA production. Genome sequencing projects have shown that most eukaryotic genes contain at least one intron, and frequently many. Comparison of these genomes reveals a history of long evolutionary periods during which few introns were gained, punctuated by episodes of rapid, extensive gain. However, although several detailed mechanisms for such episodic intron generation have been proposed, none has been empirically supported on a genomic scale...
October 19, 2016: Nature
Tobias Marczewski, Yong-Peng Ma, Xue-Mei Zhang, Wei-Bang Sun, A Jane Marczewski
Hybridisation has become a focal topic in evolutionary biology, and many taxonomists are aware that the process occurs more frequently than previously assumed. Nonetheless many species and varieties are still described without explicitly considering the possibility of hybridisation, especially in countries that have relatively short scientific histories, but which often possess the highest species diversities. Furthermore, new taxa are often described based only on herbarium specimens, not taking into account information from wild populations, significantly decreasing the potential to detect morphologies arising from hybridisation at this crucial descriptive stage...
October 6, 2016: AoB Plants
Anton Suvorov, Nicholas O Jensen, Camilla R Sharkey, M Stanley Fujimoto, Paul Bodily, Haley M Cahill Wightman, T Heath Ogden, Mark J Clement, Seth M Bybee
Gene duplication plays a central role in adaptation to novel environments by providing new genetic material for functional divergence and evolution of biological complexity. Several evolutionary models have been proposed for gene duplication to explain how new gene copies are preserved by natural selection but these models have rarely been tested using empirical data. Opsin proteins, when combined with a chromophore, form a photopigment that is responsible for the absorption of light, the first step in the phototransduction cascade...
October 18, 2016: Molecular Ecology
Karl J Niklas, Ulrich Kutschera
In 1790, the German poet Johann W. v. Goethe (1749-1832) proposed the concept of a hypothetical sessile organism known as the 'Plant Archetype,' which was subsequently reconstructed and depicted by 19th-century botanists, such as Franz Unger (1800-1870) and Julius Sachs (1832-1897), and can be considered one of the first expressions of Evo-Devo thinking. Here, we present the history of this concept in the context of Ernst Haeckel's (1834-1919) biogenetic law espoused in his Generelle Morphologie der Organismen of 1866...
October 18, 2016: Theory in Biosciences, Theorie in Den Biowissenschaften
Charles A Abbas
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
October 17, 2016: FEMS Yeast Research
Fernando Ibáñez, Luis Wall, Adriana Fabra
Agricultural practices contribute to climate change by releasing greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide that are mainly derived from nitrogen fertilizers. Therefore, understanding biological nitrogen fixation in farming systems is beneficial to agriculture and environmental preservation. In this context, a better grasp of nitrogen-fixing systems and nitrogen-fixing bacteria-plant associations will contribute to the optimization of these biological processes. Legumes and actinorhizal plants can engage in a symbiotic interaction with nitrogen-fixing rhizobia or actinomycetes, resulting in the formation of specialized root nodules...
October 18, 2016: Journal of Experimental Botany
Deepti Varshney, Akanksha Jaiswar, Alok Adholeya, Pushplata Prasad
BACKGROUND: Subtilisin-like serine proteases or Subtilases in fungi are important for penetration and colonization of host. In Hypocreales, these proteins share several properties with other fungal, bacterial, plant and mammalian homologs. However, adoption of specific roles in entomopathogenesis may be governed by attainment of unique biochemical and structural features during the evolutionary course. Due to such functional shifts Subtilases coded by different family members of Hypocreales acquire distinct features according to respective hosts and lifestyle...
October 19, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Martin L Privalsky, Chelsea A Snyder, Michael L Goodson
BACKGROUND: SMRT and NCoR are corepressor paralogs that help mediate transcriptional repression by a variety of transcription factors, including the nuclear hormone receptors. The functions of both corepressors are extensively diversified in mice by alternative mRNA splicing, generating a series of protein variants that differ in different tissues and that exert different, even diametrically opposite, biochemical and biological effects from one another. RESULTS: We report here that the alternative splicing previously reported for SMRT appears to be a relatively recent evolutionary phenomenon, with only one of these previously identified sites utilized in a teleost fish and a limited additional number of the additional known sites utilized in a bird, reptile, and marsupial...
October 19, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Ricky-John Spencer, James U Van Dyke, Michael B Thompson
Ecological traps are threats to organisms, and exist in a range of biological systems. A subset of ecological trap theory is the "ethological trap," whereby behaviors canalized by past natural selection become traps when environments change rapidly. Invasive predators are major threats to imperiled species and their ability to exploit canalized behaviors of naive prey is particularly important for the establishment of the predator and the decline of the native prey. Our study uses ecological theory to demonstrate that invasive predator controls require shifts in management priorities...
October 2016: Ecological Applications: a Publication of the Ecological Society of America
Kira S Zadesenets, Dita B Vizoso, Aline Schlatter, Irina D Konopatskaia, Eugene Berezikov, Lukas Schärer, Nikolay B Rubtsov
Over the past decade, the free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano has been successfully used in many areas of biology, including embryology, stem cells, sexual selection, bioadhesion and aging. The increased use of this powerful laboratory model, including the establishment of genomic resources and tools, makes it essential to have a detailed description of the chromosome organization of this species, previously suggested to have a karyotype with 2n = 8 and one pair of large and three pairs of small metacentric chromosomes...
2016: PloS One
Todd P Michael, Douglas Bryant, Ryan Gutierrez, Nikolai Borisjuk, Philomena Chu, Hanzhong Zhang, Jing Xia, Junfei Zhou, Hai Peng, Moaine El Baidouri, Boudewijn Ten Hallers, Alex R Hastie, Tiffany Liang, Kenneth Acosta, Sarah Gilbert, Connor McEntee, Scott A Jackson, Todd C Mockler, Weixiong Zhang, Eric Lam
Spirodela polyrhiza is a fast-growing aquatic monocot with highly reduced morphology, genome size and number of protein-coding genes. Considering these biological features of Spirodela and its basal position in the monocot lineage, understanding its genome architecture could shed light on plant adaptation and genome evolution. Like many draft genomes, however, the 158 Mbp Spirodela genome sequence has not been resolved to chromosomes and important genome characteristics have not been defined. Here we deployed rapid genome-wide physical maps combined with high-coverage short-read sequencing to resolve the 20 chromosomes of Spirodela and to empirically delineate its genome features...
October 18, 2016: Plant Journal: for Cell and Molecular Biology
Matthias Gimpel, Sabine Brantl
Dual-function sRNAs are a subgroup of small regulatory RNAs that act on the one hand as base-pairing sRNAs to inhibit or activate target gene expression and on the other hand as peptide-encoding mRNAs that function either in the same or in another metabolic pathway. Here, we review and compare the five currently known and intensively characterized dual-function sRNAs with regard to their two functions, their biological role, their evolutionary conservation and their requirements for RNA chaperones. Furthermore, we summarize the data available on five potential dual-function sRNAs, whose base-pairing function is well established whereas the role of their encoded peptides has not yet been elucidated...
October 17, 2016: Molecular Microbiology
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