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Archive for the ‘evolution’ category: Page 48

Jul 1, 2022

Looking Beyond 2050 — On Earth and in Space with Lord Martin Rees

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, education, evolution, food, health, media & arts, neuroscience

Cosmologist, noted author, Astronomer Royal and recipient of the 2015 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest Lord Martin Rees delivers a thought-provoking and insightful perspective on the challenges humanity faces in the future beyond 2050. [3/2016] [Show ID: 30476]

Frontiers of Knowledge.
(https://www.uctv.tv/frontiers-of-knowledge)

Continue reading “Looking Beyond 2050 — On Earth and in Space with Lord Martin Rees” »

Jul 1, 2022

Borrowed gene helps maize adapt to high elevations, cold temperatures

Posted by in categories: chemistry, evolution, food

Researchers at North Carolina State University show that an important gene in maize called HPC1 modulates certain chemical processes that contribute to flowering time, and has its origins in “teosinte mexicana,” a precursor to modern-day corn that grows wild in the highlands of Mexico. The findings provide insight into plant evolution and trait selection, and could have implications for corn and other crops’ adaptation to low temperatures.

“We are broadly interested in understanding how natural variation of lipids are involved in the growth and development of plants, and how these compounds may help plants adapt to their immediate environments,” said Rubén Rellán-Álvarez, assistant professor of structural and molecular biochemistry at NC State and the corresponding author of a paper describing the research. “Specifically, we wanted to learn more about variation in lipids called phospholipids, which consist of phosphorus and fatty acids, and their role in adaptation to cold, low phosphorus, and the regulation of important processes for plant fitness and yield like flowering time.”

Maize grown at higher altitudes, like the highlands of Mexico, needs special accommodations in order to grow successfully. The colder temperatures in these mountainous regions put maize at a slight disadvantage when compared with maize grown at lower elevations and higher temperatures.

Jun 28, 2022

Evolution May Be Happening Up to 4 Times Faster Than We Thought, Massive Study Finds

Posted by in categories: climatology, evolution, genetics, sustainability

New research suggests that Darwinian evolution could be happening up to four times faster than previously thought, based on an analysis of genetic variation.

The more genetic differences there are in a species, the faster evolution can happen, as certain traits die off and stronger ones get established. The team behind this latest study calls it the “fuel of evolution”, and they looked at data on 19 different wild animal groups around the world.

That data analysis revealed this raw material for evolution is more abundant than earlier estimates, and as a result we may have to adjust our expectations for how quickly animals evolve – a pertinent question in our age of climate change.

Jun 28, 2022

Why changing your mind is a feature of evolution, not a bug

Posted by in category: evolution

The ability to change your mind is a key part of being a social creature. Reasoning by oneself is a shallow endeavor.

Jun 28, 2022

CRISPR, 10 Years On: Learning to Rewrite the Code of Life

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, food, genetics

The gene-editing technology has led to innovations in medicine, evolution and agriculture — and raised profound ethical questions about altering human DNA.

Jun 26, 2022

Monkeypox Has Evolved at an ‘Accelerated’ And Unexpected Rate, Study Finds

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

The monkeypox virus has mutated at a far faster rate than would normally be expected and likely underwent a period of “accelerated evolution,” a new study suggests.

The virus, which has infected more than 3,500 people in 48 countries since its detection outside Africa in May, may be more infectious due to dozens of new mutations. In all, the virus carries 50 new mutations not seen in previous strains detected from 2018 to 2019, according to a new study published June 24 in the journal Nature Medicine.

Scientists usually don’t expect viruses like monkeypox to gain more than one or two mutations each year, the study authors noted.

Jun 21, 2022

Chinese fossils show human middle ear evolved from fish gills

Posted by in categories: evolution, habitats

The human middle ear—which houses three tiny, vibrating bones—is key to transporting sound vibrations into the inner ear, where they become nerve impulses that allow us to hear.

Embryonic and proves that the human middle ear evolved from the spiracle of fishes. However, the origin of the vertebrate spiracle has long been an unsolved mystery in vertebrate evolution.

Some 20th century researchers, believing that early vertebrates must possess a complete spiracular gill, searched for one between the mandibular and hyoid arches of early vertebrates. Despite extensive research spanning more than a century, though, none were found in any vertebrate fossils.

Jun 21, 2022

419-Million-Year-Old Chinese Fossil Shows Human Middle Ear Evolved From Fish Gills

Posted by in categories: evolution, habitats

The human middle ear—which houses three tiny, vibrating bones—is key to transporting sound vibrations into the inner ear, where they become nerve impulses that allow us to hear.

Embryonic and fossil evidence proves that the human middle ear evolved from the spiracle of fishes. However, the origin of the vertebrate spiracle has long been an unsolved mystery in vertebrate evolution.

“These fossils provided the first anatomical and fossil evidence for a vertebrate spiracle originating from fish gills.” —

Jun 20, 2022

A massive galaxy supercluster in the early universe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution

The structure of the universe is often described as being a cosmic web of filaments, nodes, and voids, with the nodes being clusters of galaxies, the largest gravitationally bound objects known. These nodes are thought to have been seeded by small-amplitude density fluctuations like those observed in the cosmic microwave background (CMB) which grew until they collapsed into the structures seen today. While the CMB is well understood, and the details of present-day galaxy clusters are well-described, the intermediate phases of evolution lack sufficient observations to constrain the models. Traditional galaxy cluster searches assume these objects have had enough time to equilibrate so that the intergalactic gas has heated up enough to be detected in X-ray emission. To detect the more distant galaxies and protoclusters that are too faint to detect in the X-ray, astronomers use their bright infrared or submillimeter emission instead.

The supercluster SPT2349−56, discovered in the submillimeter band by the South Pole Telescope, is so distant that its light has been traveling for over twelve billion years. It hosts over thirty submillimeter-bright galaxies and dozens of other luminous and/or spectroscopically confirmed star-forming galaxies. It is one of the most active star forming complexes known, producing over ten thousand stars per year. One of its bright sources appears to be the merger of over twenty galaxies. The stellar mass of the system, however, was not known, making it impossible for example to know whether the huge burst of stars was the result of an extraordinary efficiency or simply arose because the system was so extremely large.

CfA astronomer Matthew Ashby was a member of a team that has now completed very deep observations at optical and to obtain the stellar masses through spectral energy distribution (SED) analyses. They used the Gemini and Hubble Space Telescopes to obtain optical/near infrared flux measurements and Spitzer’s IRAC camera for the infrared flux. In order to model the SEDs, the many point sources detected need to be matched to one another at all wavelengths. This is a complex undertaking, and the scientists describe the processes for doing so while also addressing the serious blending that can occur due to inadequate spatial resolution in the infrared.

Jun 20, 2022

From Pessimism to Optimism Despite the Headlines

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, climatology, evolution, Peter Diamandis, sustainability

Why we need to adopt an abundance mindset.


Peter Diamandis shared an email blast about dire headlines that keep us on edge: the war in Ukraine, food and gasoline prices, climate change, and the neverending pandemic. Getting away from bad news is difficult, it appears, because of the way we are wired. Mass media feeds the bad far more than the good.

In his missive, Peter talks about Matt Ridley, a zoologist, who wrote and published The Rational Optimist in 2010. The book takes a profoundly optimistic view of human progress, a counterblast to the prevailing pessimism of our day. Ridley coined the phrase “moaning pessimism” to describe the current state.

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