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Trait evolution

Kjetil Lysne Voje
The dominating view of evolution based on the fossil record is that established species remain more or less unaltered during their existence. Substantial evolution is on the other hand routinely reported for contemporary populations, and most quantitative traits show high potential for evolution. These contrasting observations on long and short time scales are often referred to as the paradox of stasis, which rests on the fundamental assumption that periods of morphological stasis in the fossil record represent minimal evolutionary change...
October 17, 2016: Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Steven J Burgess, Ignasi Granero-Moya, Mathieu J Grangé-Guermente, Chris Boursnell, Matthew J Terry, Julian M Hibberd
C4 photosynthesis acts as a carbon concentrating mechanism that leads to large increases in photosynthetic efficiency. The C4 pathway is found in more than 60 plant lineages(1) but the molecular enablers of this evolution are poorly understood. In particular, it is unclear how non-photosynthetic proteins in the ancestral C3 system have repeatedly become strongly expressed and integrated into photosynthesis gene regulatory networks in C4 leaves. Here, we provide clear evidence that in C3 leaves, genes encoding key enzymes of the C4 pathway are already co-regulated with photosynthesis genes and are controlled by both light and chloroplast-to-nucleus signalling...
October 17, 2016: Nature Plants
Schneider Ralf Friedrich, Axel Meyer
There is increasing evidence that phenotypic plasticity can promote population divergence by facilitating phenotypic diversification and, eventually, genetic divergence. When a 'plastic' population colonizes a new habitat it has the possibility to occupy multiple niches by expressing several distinct phenotypes. These initially reflect the population's plastic range but may later become genetically fixed by selection via the process of 'genetic assimilation' (GA). This way multiple specialized sister-lineages can arise that share a common plastic ancestor - the 'flexible stem'...
October 16, 2016: Molecular Ecology
Arianna Pompilio, Valentina Crocetta, Dipankar Ghosh, Malabika Chakrabarti, Giovanni Gherardi, Luca Agostino Vitali, Ersilia Fiscarelli, Giovanni Di Bonaventura
The present study was carried out to understand the adaptive strategies developed by Stenotrophomonas maltophilia for chronic colonization of the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung. For this purpose, 13 temporally isolated strains from a single CF patient chronically infected over a 10-year period were systematically characterized for growth rate, biofilm formation, motility, mutation frequencies, antibiotic resistance, and pathogenicity. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) showed over time the presence of two distinct groups, each consisting of two different pulsotypes...
2016: Frontiers in Microbiology
Christiane Gebhardt
This article evaluates the main contributions of tomato, tobacco, petunia, potato, pepper and eggplant to classical and molecular plant genetics and genomics since the beginning of the twentieth century. Species from the Solanaceae family form integral parts of human civilizations as food sources and drugs since thousands of years, and, more recently, as ornamentals. Some Solanaceous species were subjects of classical and molecular genetic research over the last 100 years. The tomato was one of the principal models in twentieth century classical genetics and a pacemaker of genome analysis in plants including molecular linkage maps, positional cloning of disease resistance genes and quantitative trait loci (QTL)...
October 15, 2016: TAG. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. Theoretische und Angewandte Genetik
Ming-Shan Wang, Yong-Xia Huo, Yan Li, Newton O Otecko, Ling-Yan Su, Hai-Bo Xu, Shi-Fang Wu, Min-Sheng Peng, He-Qun Liu, Lin Zeng, David M Irwin, Yong-Gang Yao, Dong-Dong Wu, Ya-Ping Zhang
Body size is the most important economic trait for animal production and breeding. Several hundreds of loci have been reported to be associated with growth trait and body weight in chickens. The loci are mapped to large genomic regions due to the low density and limited number of genetic markers in previous studies. Herein, we employed comparative population genomics to identify genetic basis underlying the small body size of Yuanbao chicken (a famous ornamental chicken) based on 89 whole genomes. The most significant signal was mapped to the BMP10 gene, whose expression was upregulated in the Yuanbao chicken...
October 15, 2016: Journal of Molecular Cell Biology
Olympia Gianfrancesco, Vivien J Bubb, John P Quinn
Many facets of human behaviour are likely to have developed in part due to evolutionary changes in the regulation of neuropeptide and other brain-related genes. This has allowed species-specific expression patterns and unique epigenetic modulation in response to our environment, regulating response not only at the molecular level, but also contributing to differences in behaviour between individuals. As such, genetic variants or epigenetic changes that may alter neuropeptide gene expression are predicted to play a role in behavioural conditions and psychiatric illness...
October 11, 2016: Neuropeptides
Hong Li, Melanie Elphick, Richard Shine
Viviparity (live-bearing) has evolved from oviparity (egg-laying) in more than 100 lineages of squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes). This transition generally has occurred in cool climates, where thermal differentials between eggs in the (cool) nest versus the (warm) maternal oviduct influence embryonic development, in ways that may enhance offspring fitness. To identify specific traits potentially under selection, we incubated eggs of a montane scincid lizard at conditions simulating natural nests, maternal body temperatures, and an intermediate stage (2-week uterine retention of eggs prior to laying)...
October 14, 2016: Oecologia
Federico Lopez-Osorio, Kurt M Pickett, James M Carpenter, Bryan A Ballif, Ingi Agnarsson
The phylogenetic relationships among genera of the subfamily Vespinae (yellowjackets and hornets) remain unclear. Yellowjackets and hornets constitute one of the only two lineages of highly eusocial wasps, and the distribution of key behavioral traits correlates closely with the current classification of the group. The potential of the Vespinae to elucidate the evolution of social life, however, remains limited due to ambiguous genus-level relationships. Here, we address the relationships among genera within the Vespinae using transcriptomic (RNA-seq) data...
October 11, 2016: Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Michael Lynch, Matthew S Ackerman, Jean-Francois Gout, Hongan Long, Way Sung, W Kelley Thomas, Patricia L Foster
As one of the few cellular traits that can be quantified across the tree of life, DNA-replication fidelity provides an excellent platform for understanding fundamental evolutionary processes. Furthermore, because mutation is the ultimate source of all genetic variation, clarifying why mutation rates vary is crucial for understanding all areas of biology. A potentially revealing hypothesis for mutation-rate evolution is that natural selection primarily operates to improve replication fidelity, with the ultimate limits to what can be achieved set by the power of random genetic drift...
October 14, 2016: Nature Reviews. Genetics
Marinela Dukić, Daniel Berner, Marius Roesti, Christoph R Haag, Dieter Ebert
BACKGROUND: Recombination rate is an essential parameter for many genetic analyses. Recombination rates are highly variable across species, populations, individuals and different genomic regions. Due to the profound influence that recombination can have on intraspecific diversity and interspecific divergence, characterization of recombination rate variation emerges as a key resource for population genomic studies and emphasises the importance of high-density genetic maps as tools for studying genome biology...
October 13, 2016: BMC Genetics
Gabriel Cabot, Carla López-Causapé, Alain A Ocampo-Sosa, Lea M Sommer, María Ángeles Domínguez, Laura Zamorano, Carlos Juan, Fe Tubau, Cristina Rodríguez, Bartolomé Moyà, Carmen Peña, Luis Martínez-Martínez, Patrick Plesiat, Antonio Oliver
Whole genome sequencing (WGS) was used for the characterization of the, frequently extensively-drug resistant (XDR), P. aeruginosa high-risk clone ST175. A total of eighteen ST175 isolates recovered from 8 different Spanish hospitals were analyzed; four isolates from four different French hospitals were included for comparison. The typical resistance profile of ST175 included penicillins, cephalosporins, monobactams, carbapenems, aminoglycosides, and fluoroquinolones. In the phylogenetic analysis, the four French isolates clustered together with the two isolates from one of the Spanish regions...
October 10, 2016: Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Peter J Christie
Escherichia coli and other Gram-negative and -positive bacteria employ type IV secretion systems (T4SSs) to translocate DNA and protein substrates, generally by contact-dependent mechanisms, to other cells. The T4SSs functionally encompass two major subfamilies, the conjugation systems and the effector translocators. The conjugation systems are responsible for interbacterial transfer of antibiotic resistance genes, virulence determinants, and genes encoding other traits of potential benefit to the bacterial host...
October 2016: EcoSal Plus
Andrew Tai, Martin Cheung, Yong-Heng Huang, Ralf Jauch, Marianne E Bronner, Kathryn S E Cheah
During chordate evolution, two genome-wide duplications facilitated acquisition of vertebrate traits, including emergence of neural crest cells (NCCs), in which neofunctionalization of the duplicated genes are thought to have facilitated development of craniofacial structures and the peripheral nervous system. How these duplicated genes evolve and acquire the ability to specify NC and their derivatives are largely unknown. Vertebrate SoxE paralogues, most notably Sox9/10, are essential for NC induction, delamination and lineage specification...
October 13, 2016: Scientific Reports
Emilien Luquet, Juliette Tariel
BACKGROUND: Within-generational plasticity (WGP) and transgenerational plasticity (TGP) are mechanisms allowing rapid adaptive responses to fluctuating environments without genetic change. These forms of plasticity have often been viewed as independent processes. Recent evidence suggests that WGP is altered by the environmental conditions experienced by previous generations (i.e., TGP). In the context of inducible defenses, one of the most studied cases of plasticity, the WGP x TGP interaction has been poorly investigated...
October 12, 2016: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Brian Hare
The challenge of studying human cognitive evolution is identifying unique features of our intelligence while explaining the processes by which they arose. Comparisons with nonhuman apes point to our early-emerging cooperative-communicative abilities as crucial to the evolution of all forms of human cultural cognition, including language. The human selfdomestication hypothesis proposes that these early-emerging social skills evolved when natural selection favored increased in-group prosociality over aggression in late human evolution...
October 12, 2016: Annual Review of Psychology
Alvaro Molina-Cruz, Martine M Zilversmit, Daniel E Neafsey, Daniel L Hartl, Carolina Barillas-Mury
Plasmodium falciparum malaria remains a devastating public health problem. Recent discoveries have shed light on the origin and evolution of Plasmodium parasites and their interactions with their vertebrate and mosquito hosts. P. falciparum malaria originated in Africa from a single horizontal transfer between an infected gorilla and a human, and became global as the result of human migration. Today, P. falciparum malaria is transmitted worldwide by more than 70 different anopheline mosquito species. Recent studies indicate that the mosquito immune system can be a barrier to malaria transmission and that the P...
October 3, 2016: Annual Review of Genetics
A T Branco, L Schilling, K Silkaitis, D K Dowling, B Lemos
Reproduction and aging evolved to be intimately associated. Experimental selection for early-life reproduction drives the evolution of decreased longevity in Drosophila whereas experimental selection for increased longevity leads to changes in reproduction. Although life history theory offers hypotheses to explain these relationships, the genetic architecture and molecular mechanisms underlying reproduction-longevity associations remain a matter of debate. Here we show that mating triggers accelerated mortality in males and identify hundreds of genes that are modulated upon mating in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster...
October 12, 2016: Heredity
Azeem Mehmood Butt, Izza Nasrullah, Raheel Qamar, Yigang Tong
The codon usage patterns of viruses reflect the evolutionary changes that allow them to optimize their survival and adapt their fitness to the external environment and, most importantly, their hosts. Here we report the genotype-specific codon usage patterns of Zika virus (ZIKV) strains from the current and previous outbreaks. Several genotype-specific and common codon usage traits were noted in the ZIKV coding sequences, indicating their independent evolutionary origins from a common ancestor. The overall influence of natural selection was more profound than that of mutation pressure, acting on a specific set of viral genes in the Asian-genotype ZIKV strains from the recent outbreak...
October 12, 2016: Emerging Microbes & Infections
Yongxia Cui, Beng Kah Song, Lin-Feng Li, Ya-Ling Li, Zhongyun Huang, Ana L Caicedo, Yulin Jia, Kenneth M Olsen
Weedy rice is a conspecific form of cultivated rice (Oryza sativa L.) that infests rice fields and results in severe crop losses. Weed strains in different world regions appear to have originated multiple times from different domesticated and/or wild rice progenitors. In the case of Malaysian weedy rice, a multiple-origin model has been proposed based on neutral markers and analyses of domestication genes for hull color and seed shattering. Here we examined variation in pericarp (bran) color and its molecular basis to address how this trait evolved in Malaysian weeds and its possible role in weed adaptation...
October 11, 2016: G3: Genes—Genomes—Genetics
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