Evolution

An article published in the journal “PLOS Genetics” describes a research on the genes existing in non-African modern humans inherited from Neanderthals. According to a team of researchers led by Ivan Juric of University of California at Davis only a small amount of Neanderthal genes have remained in the DNA of modern humans because natural selection removed a lot of deleterious variants.

Evolution in yeast species (grey and red) with mass spectrometry in green (Image courtesy Villen Lab/University of Washington)

An article published in the journal “Science” describes a research that states the importance of the mechanism called post-translational modification (PTM) in evolution. An international team led by Pedro Beltrao of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI) and by Professor Judit Villen of the University of Washington investigated in particular phosphorylation obtaining information also useful in medical research such as that on cancer.

Convergence between ancient reptiles and dinosaurs (Image courtesy Michelle Stocker et al.)

An article published in the journal “Current Biology” describes a research on a species of reptile that was called Triopticus primus. A group of paleontologists led by Michelle Stocker of Virginia Tech College of Science studied this reptile that lived about 230 million years ago, noting several features similar to those of pachycephalosaur dinosaurs that lived 100 million years later. The research also revealed other similarities between animals contemporary to Triopticus primus and dinosaurs that lived millions of years later.

Reconstruction of Allkauren koi (Image courtesy Gabriel Lío. All rights reserved)

An article published in the journal “PeerJ” describes the discovery of a new species of pterosaur that was called Allkauren koi from the early Jurassic period. A team of scientists discovered a partial skeleton in the Cañadón Asfalto Formation, in the province of Chubut, Patagonia, Argentina, with a braincase in excellent conditions. For this reason its study can provide new information about the origins and evolution of these flying reptiles.

Markers of wrists and digits in a mouse (left) and in a fish fin rays (right) (Image courtesy Shubin laboratory)

An article published in the journal “Nature” describes a research on the evolution of from fins to hands. A team of scientists coordinated by paleontologist and developmental biologist Neil Shubin of the University of Chicago, Illinois, used the CRISPR-Cas9 genetic engineering technique to show that the same cells that generate fish fin rays have a central role in the formation of tetrapods fingers and toes.