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"Evolutionary biology"

Andrew M Scott, Ian Dworkin, Reuven Dukas
Sociability, defined as individuals' propensity to participate in non-aggressive activities with conspecifics, is a fundamental feature of behavior in many animals including humans. However, we still have a limited knowledge of the mechanisms and evolutionary biology of sociability. To enhance our understanding, we developed a new protocol to quantify sociability in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). In a series of experiments with 59 F1 hybrids derived from inbred lines, we documented, first, significant genetic variation in sociability in both males and females, with broad-sense heritabilities of 0...
April 23, 2018: Behavior Genetics
Virginia Belloni, Alessia Galeazzi, Giulia Bernini, Mauro Mandrioli, Elisabetta Versace, Albrecht Haase
The invasive pest Drosophila suzukii has evolved morphological and behavioural adaptations to lay eggs under the skin of fresh fruits. This results in severe damage to a wide range of small fruits. Drosophila suzukii females typically lay few eggs per fruit, preferring healthy fruits. Hence, larvae are exposed to a reduced amount of nitrogenous waste. Differently, the innocuous Drosophila melanogaster lays eggs on fermented fruits already infested by conspecifics, with larvae developing in a crowded environment with the accumulation of nitrogenous waste such as ammonia and urea...
April 18, 2018: Physiology & Behavior
Nicolas Dussex, Johanna von Seth, Bruce C Robertson, Love Dalén
Understanding how species respond to population declines is a central question in conservation and evolutionary biology. Population declines are often associated with loss of genetic diversity, inbreeding and accumulation of deleterious mutations, which can lead to a reduction in fitness and subsequently contribute to extinction. Using temporal approaches can help us understand the effects of population declines on genetic diversity in real time. Sequencing pre-decline as well as post-decline mitogenomes representing all the remaining mitochondrial diversity, we estimated the loss of genetic diversity in the critically endangered kākāpō ( Strigops habroptilus )...
April 19, 2018: Genes
Robin S Waples, Kim Scribner, Jennifer Moore, Hope Draheim, Dwayne Etter, Mark Boersen
The idealized concept of a population is integral to ecology, evolutionary biology, and natural resource management. To make analyses tractable, most models adopt simplifying assumptions, which almost inevitably are violated by real species in nature. Here we focus on both demographic and genetic estimates of effective population size per generation (Ne), the effective number of breeders per year (Nb), and Wright's neighborhood size (NS) for black bears (Ursus americanus) that are continuously distributed in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan, USA...
April 14, 2018: Journal of Heredity
Christoph Vorburger, Steve J Perlman
Understanding the coevolution of hosts and parasites is a long-standing goal of evolutionary biology. There is a well-developed theoretical framework to describe the evolution of host-parasite interactions under the assumption of direct, two-species interactions, which can result in arms race dynamics or sustained genotype fluctuations driven by negative frequency dependence (Red Queen dynamics). However, many hosts rely on symbionts for defence against parasites. Whilst the ubiquity of defensive symbionts and their potential importance for disease control are increasingly recognized, there is still a gap in our understanding of how symbionts mediate or possibly take part in host-parasite coevolution...
April 16, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Hai-Fei Yan, Cai-Yun Zhang, Arne A Anderberg, Gang Hao, Xue-Jun Ge, John J Wiens
What causes the disparity in biodiversity among regions is a fundamental question in biogeography, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Evolutionary and biogeographic processes (speciation, extinction, dispersal) directly determine species richness patterns, and can be studied using integrative phylogenetic approaches. However, the strikingly high richness of East Asia relative to other Northern Hemisphere regions remains poorly understood from this perspective. Here, for the first time, we test two general hypotheses (older colonization time, faster diversification rate) to explain this pattern, using the plant tribe Lysimachieae (Primulaceae) as a model system...
April 17, 2018: New Phytologist
Bengt Hansson, Hanna Sigeman, Martin Stervander, Maja Tarka, Suvi Ponnikas, Maria Strandh, Helena Westerdahl, Dennis Hasselquist
A major goal in evolutionary biology is to understand the genetic basis of adaptive traits. In migratory birds, wing morphology is such a trait. Our previous work on the great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinaceus) shows that wing length is highly heritable and under sexually antagonistic selection. Moreover, a quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping analysis detected a pronounced QTL for wing length on chromosome 2, suggesting that wing morphology is partly controlled by genes with large effects. Here, we re-evaluate the genetic basis of wing length in great reed warblers using a genome-wide association study (GWAS) approach based on restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (RADseq) data...
April 15, 2018: Molecular Ecology Resources
Maurine Neiman, Patrick G Meirmans, Tanja Schwander, Stephanie Meirmans
Why and how sexual reproduction is maintained in natural populations, the so-called "queen of problems", is a key unanswered question in evolutionary biology. Recent efforts to solve the problem of sex have often emphasized results generated from laboratory settings. Here, we use a survey of representative "sex in the wild" literature to review and synthesize the outcomes of empirical studies focused on natural populations. Especially notable results included relatively strong support for mechanisms involving niche differentiation and a near absence of attention to adaptive evolution...
April 12, 2018: Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Quentin Rougemont, Louis Bernatchez
Understanding the dual roles of demographic and selective processes in the buildup of population divergence is one of the most challenging tasks in evolutionary biology. Here, we investigated the demographic history of Atlantic Salmon across the entire species range using 2035 anadromous individuals from North America and Eurasia. By combining results from admixture graphs, geo-genetic maps and an Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) framework, we validated previous hypotheses pertaining to secondary contact between European and Northern American populations, but also identified secondary contacts in European populations from different glacial refugia...
April 12, 2018: Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution
Axel Constant, Maxwell J D Ramstead, Samuel P L Veissière, John O Campbell, Karl J Friston
In evolutionary biology, niche construction is sometimes described as a genuine evolutionary process whereby organisms, through their activities and regulatory mechanisms, modify their environment such as to steer their own evolutionary trajectory, and that of other species. There is ongoing debate, however, on the extent to which niche construction ought to be considered a bona fide evolutionary force, on a par with natural selection. Recent formulations of the variational free-energy principle as applied to the life sciences describe the properties of living systems, and their selection in evolution, in terms of variational inference...
April 2018: Journal of the Royal Society, Interface
Mark R Christie, Gordon G McNickle, Rod A French, Michael S Blouin
The maintenance of diverse life history strategies within and among species remains a fundamental question in ecology and evolutionary biology. By using a near-complete 16-year pedigree of 12,579 winter-run steelhead ( Oncorhynchus mykiss ) from the Hood River, Oregon, we examined the continued maintenance of two life history traits: the number of lifetime spawning events (semelparous vs. iteroparous) and age at first spawning (2-5 years). We found that repeat-spawning fish had more than 2.5 times the lifetime reproductive success of single-spawning fish...
April 11, 2018: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Lance J Miller, Jamie A Ivy, Greg A Vicino, Ivana G Schork
To improve the welfare of nonhuman animals under professional care, zoological institutions are continuously utilizing new methods to identify factors that lead to optimal welfare. Comparative methods have historically been used in the field of evolutionary biology but are increasingly being applied in the field of animal welfare. In the current study, data were obtained from direct behavioral observation and institutional records representing 80 individual animals from 34 different species of the order Carnivora...
April 6, 2018: Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science: JAAWS
Pablo Librado, Ludovic Orlando
Identifying the genomic basis underlying local adaptation is paramount to evolutionary biology, and bears many applications in the fields of conservation biology, crop and animal breeding, as well as personalized medicine. While many approaches have been developed to detect signatures of positive selection within single populations and population pairs, the increasing wealth of high-throughput sequencing data requires improved methods capable of handling multiple, and ideally large number of, populations in a single analysis...
March 29, 2018: Molecular Biology and Evolution
Joana Isabel Meier, David Alexander Marques, Catherine Elise Wagner, Laurent Excoffier, Ole Seehausen
The genetic basis of parallel evolution of similar species is of great interest in evolutionary biology. In the adaptive radiation of Lake Victoria cichlid fishes, sister species with either blue or red-back male nuptial coloration have evolved repeatedly, often associated with shallower and deeper water, respectively. One such case are blue and red-backed Pundamilia species, for which we recently showed that a young species pair may have evolved through "hybrid parallel speciation". Coalescent simulations suggested that the older species P...
April 2, 2018: Molecular Biology and Evolution
Nataliia Kodash, Martin Fischer
Georgy Gause (1910-1986) is best known for his contribution to ecology and evolutionary theory. His book "The Struggle for Existence" (1934) inspired generations of ecologists. Yet his scientific interests were diverse, embracing many aspects of the life sciences and medicine. The most notable shift in his research took place in the early 1940s when he began to study antibiotics and discovered Gramicidin S. Superficially, this shift looked like an attempt to switch from purely theoretical to applied research during the years of World War II, but Gause's decision may also have been seriously affected by the "Great Purge" and the growth of Lysenkoism...
April 3, 2018: Theory in Biosciences, Theorie in Den Biowissenschaften
Jonathan Romiguier, Jonathan Rolland, Claire Morandin, Laurent Keller
BACKGROUND: The ants of the Formica genus are classical model species in evolutionary biology. In particular, Darwin used Formica as model species to better understand the evolution of slave-making, a parasitic behaviour where workers of another species are stolen to exploit their workforce. In his book "On the Origin of Species" (1859), Darwin first hypothesized that slave-making behaviour in Formica evolved in incremental steps from a free-living ancestor. METHODS: The absence of a well-resolved phylogenetic tree of the genus prevent an assessment of whether relationships among Formica subgenera are compatible with this scenario...
March 28, 2018: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Jessica Hendy, Frido Welker, Beatrice Demarchi, Camilla Speller, Christina Warinner, Matthew J Collins
Palaeoproteomics is an emerging neologism used to describe the application of mass spectrometry-based approaches to the study of ancient proteomes. As with palaeogenomics (the study of ancient DNA), it intersects evolutionary biology, archaeology and anthropology, with applications ranging from the phylogenetic reconstruction of extinct species to the investigation of past human diets and ancient diseases. However, there is no explicit consensus at present regarding standards for data reporting, data validation measures or the use of suitable contamination controls in ancient protein studies...
March 26, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Wei Lin, Wensi Zhang, Xiang Zhao, Andrew P Roberts, Greig A Paterson, Dennis A Bazylinski, Yongxin Pan
The origin and evolution of magnetoreception, which in diverse prokaryotes and protozoa is known as magnetotaxis and enables these microorganisms to detect Earth's magnetic field for orientation and navigation, is not well understood in evolutionary biology. The only known prokaryotes capable of sensing the geomagnetic field are magnetotactic bacteria (MTB), motile microorganisms that biomineralize intracellular, membrane-bounded magnetic single-domain crystals of either magnetite (Fe3 O4 ) or greigite (Fe3 S4 ) called magnetosomes...
March 26, 2018: ISME Journal
Francisco Javier García-De León, Carolina Galván-Tirado, Laura Sánchez Velasco, Claudia A Silva-Segundo, Rafael Hernández-Guzmán, Irene de Los Angeles Barriga-Sosa, Píndaro Díaz Jaimes, Michael Canino, Pedro Cruz-Hernández
Determining the relative influence of biotic and abiotic factors on genetic connectivity among populations remains a major challenge in evolutionary biology and in the management and conservation of species. North Pacific hake (Merluccius productus) inhabits upwelling regions in the California Current ecosystem from the Gulf of California to the Gulf of Alaska. In this study, we examined mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and microsatellite variation to estimate levels of genetic differentiation of M. productus in relation to the role of oceanographic features as potential barriers to gene flow...
2018: PloS One
Joeri Witteveen
A popular narrative about the history of modern biology has it that Ernst Mayr introduced the distinction between "typological thinking" and "population thinking" to mark a contrast between a metaphysically problematic and a promising foundation for (evolutionary) biology, respectively. This narrative sometimes continues with the observation that, since the late-20th century, typological concepts have been making a comeback in biology, primarily in the context of evolutionary developmental biology...
March 26, 2018: Journal of Experimental Zoology. Part B, Molecular and Developmental Evolution
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