COLOR KEY: Artificial Life; Origin of Life, Eukaryotes, Organelles;
Origin/Evolution of Prokaryotes, Viruses, Introns, etc.
Ancient Birds; Dinosaurs; Other Ancient Reptiles
Human Origins and Evolution; Domestication
Other Evolutionary Biology
Political, Religious, and Educational Issues
Dec 18. Ardipithecus ramidus. Science 326:1598-1599. "A rare 4.4-million-year-old skeleton has drawn back the curtain of time to reveal the surprising body plan and ecology of our earliest ancestors."
Dec 18. Spineless Fish and Dark Flies Prove Gene Regulation Crucial. Science 326:1612. "Two teams independently report that changes in regulatory DNA were responsible for an adaptation in natural populations of fish and insects. Each group has also pieced together details of the underlying genetic alterations in those animals."
Dec 4. On the Origin of Tomorrow. Science 326:1334-1336. "What is the future of evolution? In the essay in Science's series in honor of the Year of Darwin, Carl Zimmer explores the subject of human-driven evolution."
Nov 19. Why reproduction often takes two. Nature 463:294. "On the face of it, self-fertilization is the efficient way to breed: compared with outcrossing, there's usually much less fuss, for a start. So why isn't reproduction by selfing far more prevalent than it is?"
Nov 19. Malaria: Evolution in vector control. Nature 463:298. "Each week some 20,000 people die from malaria. There will be no magic ways of reducing this dreadful toll, not least because the mosquito vector and the parasite itself have formidable abilities to resist control measures. Angles of attack that rest on evolutionary principles are being explored."
Nov 19. Mutation load and rapid adaptation favour outcrossing over self-fertilization. Nature 463:350. "The tendency of organisms to reproduce by cross-fertilization, despite the advantages of self-fertilization and particularly the cost of males, is one of the oldest puzzles of evolutionary biology. Two advantages of outcrossing that could outweigh this cost have been suggested: the avoidance of inbreeding and an enhanced ability to adapt to environmental change. Here, the study of outcrossing in populations of Caenorhabditis elegans suggests that both of these explanations are correct."
Nov 12. Language evolution: The importance of being human. Nature 463:169. "The FOXP2 gene is implicated in the development of human speech and language. A comparison of the human and chimpanzee FOXP2 proteins highlights the differences in function in the two species."
Ricardo and Szostak, 2009 Sep. The Origin of Life on Earth. Scientific American "Fresh clues hint at how the first living organisms arose from inanimate matter."
Hauser, 2009 Sep. The Origin of the Mind. Scientific American "The first step in figuring out how the human mind arose is determining what distinguishes our mental processes from those of other creatures."
Stone, 2009 Oct 30. Signs of Early Homo sapiens in China? Science 326:655. "A fresh find of human fossils claimed to be more than 100,000 years old challenges the prevailing view that our ancestors peopled the world in a migration out of Africa late in the last Ice Age, Chinese scientists say."
?, 2009 Oct 29. Darwin and culture. Nature 461:1173. "A new series of essays traces the astounding variety of reactions to the theory of evolution."
Kitano et al., 2009 Oct 22. A role for a neo-sex chromosome in stickleback speciation. Nature 461:1079. "Closely related species often have different sex-chromosome systems, but it is not known whether sex-chromosome turnover contributes to the evolution of reproductive isolation between species. Here, a neo-sex chromosome is identified in only one member of a sympatric species pair of stickleback fish in Japan. The newly evolved sex chromosome is found to contain genes that contribute to speciation, suggesting that sex-chromosome turnover might have a greater role in speciation than was previously appreciated."
Seiffert et al., 2009 Oct 22. Convergent evolution of anthropoid-like adaptations in Eocene adapiform primates. Nature 461:1118. "The recent description of the primitive Eocene primate Darwinius has been widely publicized as an important 'link' in the early evolution of Anthropoidea. The extinct group to which Darwinius belongs, the 'adapoid' primates, was not generally thought to be close to the anthropoids. Here, the jaw and teeth of a large-bodied adapiform from the earliest late Eocene of Egypt is described; detailed phylogenetic analysis shows that adapiforms were only very distant relatives of anthropoids but that they do have some features that suggest convergent evolution."
Clark, 2009 Oct 16. Becoming T. rex. Science 326:373-374. "A small tyrannosaur from the Early Cretaceous sheds light on the origin of predatory features of Tyrannosaurus rex."
Khare et al., 2009 Oct 15. Cheater-resistance is not futile. Nature 461:980. "Individuals in cooperative social systems can cheat the system by reaping the benefits of cooperation without incurring the costs. Here, the presence of a cheater in a population of randomly mutated social amoebae is shown to select for mutations that confer resistance to cheating in the rest of the population. This cheater-resistance can be a noble strategy because the resister strain does not necessarily exploit other strains, preserving cooperative behaviour."
Martin and Ruf, 2009 Oct 30. On the Mammalian Ear. Science 326:243-244. "Embryonic development played a key role in the evolution of the mammalian ear."
Hurst, 2009 Oct 1. Showcasing the evidence for evolution. Nature 461:596. "Laurence D. Hurst reviews The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins and The Tangled Bank: An Introduction to Evolution by Carl Zimmer."
Witmer, 2009 Oct 1. Palaeontology: Feathered dinosaurs in a tangle. Nature 461:601. "A dramatic feathered dinosaur fossil from the Jurassic of China resolves a 'temporal paradox'. But it adds intriguing complications to the debates on the evolution of feathers and flight in birds."
Hu et al., 2009 Oct 1. A pre-Archaeopteryx troodontid theropod from China with long feathers on the metatarsus. Nature 461:640. "The early evolution of the major groups of derived non-avialan theropods is not well understood, resulting in the 'temporal paradox' argument against the theropod hypothesis of avian origins. Here, a small theropod specimen collected from the earliest Late Jurassic of China is recovered that is referable to the Troodontidae, which are among the theropods most closely related to birds, thus refuting the 'temporal paradox'. Furthermore, the extensive feathering of the specimen sheds new light on the early evolution of feathers."
Balazs and Epstein, 2009 Sep 25. Emergent or Just Complex? Science 325:1632-1634. "Efforts toward creating artificial cells are shedding light on how life may have emerged."
Organ et al., 2009 Sep 17. Genotypic sex determination enabled adaptive radiations of extinct marine reptiles. Nature 461:389. "Adaptive radiations often follow the evolution of key traits. The mechanism by which a species determines the sex of its offspring has been linked to critical ecological and life-history traits but not to major adaptive radiations. A coevolutionary relationship is now established in 94 amniote species between the sex-determining mechanism and whether a species bears live young or lays eggs. This is used to predict the evolution of genotypic sex determination before the acquisition of live birth in three extinct marine reptiles."
Pennisi, 2009 Sep 11. How Beach Life Favors Blond Mice. Science 325:1330-1333. "Hopi Hoekstra, a young evolutionary biologist at Harvard University, has been tackling the genetic complexity of a classic case of adaptation in mice."
Kvavadze et al., 2009 Sep 11. 30,000-Year-Old Wild Flax Fibers. Science 325:1359. "Dyed flax fibers from 30,000 years ago show that humans in the Caucasus were making colored twine at that time."
Nicholls, 2009 Sep 10. Evolution: Mouth to mouth. Nature 461:164. "Hagfish and lampreys are the only surviving fish without jaws. And they could solve an evolutionary mystery."
Balter, 2009 Sep 4. Ancient DNA Says Europe's First Farmers Came From Afar. Science 325:1189. "In a paper published online this week in Science, European researchers for the first time directly compare ancient DNA from European hunter-gatherers and early farmers. They conclude that outside colonizers brought farming to central Europe in a major migration event about 7500 years ago."
Pennisi, 2009 Sep 4. On the Origin of Cooperation. Science 325:1196-1199. "How did cooperation evolve when cheaters—those who benefit without making sacrifices—can threaten its stability? In the ninth essay in Science's series in honor of the Year of Darwin, Elizabeth Pennisi discusses the genetic nuts and bolts of cooperation in systems from microbes to humans."
Merilä, 2009 Sep 4. Genetic Constraints on Adaptation? Science 325:1212-1213. "A lack of genetic variation in ecologically important traits may limit the ability of tropical species to respond to climate change."
Wong, 2009 Aug. The Mysterious Downfall of the Neandertals. Scientific American. "Paleoanthropologists know more about Neandertals than any other extinct human. But their demise remains a mystery, one that gets curiouser and curiouser."
Pennisi, 2009 Aug 21. Two Steps Forward for Synthetic Biology. Science 325:928-929. "Two new developments, one of which is described in a paper published online this week by Science, have brought genetic engineers closer to a major goal: routinely manipulating sets of genes and even whole genomes."
?, 2009 Aug 20. Misadventures in the Burgess Shale. Nature 460:952. "One hundred years after Charles Doolittle Walcott found a wealth of Cambrian fossils in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Desmond Collins reflects on the bumpy road of their classification."
Zimmer, 2009 Aug 7. On the Origin of Eukaryotes. Science 325:666-668. "If the eukaryote cell hadn't evolved, we wouldn't be here to discuss the question of how it originated. In the eighth essay in Science's series in honor of the Year of Darwin, Carl Zimmer describes one of the most important transitions in the history of life: the origin of cells with a nucleus, which gave rise to every multicellular form of life."
Mackay, 2009 Aug 7. A-maize-ing Diversity. Science 325:688-689. "Analysis of a new maize resource reveals that a large number of genetic loci with small effects may underlie the wide variation seen in traits such as flowering time."
Wang, et al., 2009 Aug 13. Programming cells by multiplex genome engineering and accelerated evolution. Nature 460:894. "Genomic diversity is difficult to generate in the laboratory in an efficient way. Here, multiplex automated genome engineering (MAGE) is described for large-scale programming and evolution of cells. It is an automated and efficient approach that expedites the design and evolution of organisms with new and improved properties."
, 2009 Aug 6. In Retrospect: Lamarck's treatise at 200. Nature 460:688. "Fifty years before On the Origin of Species, a confusing, tiresome and prescient book laid the foundations of modern evolutionary theory, write Dan Graur, Manolo Gouy and David Wool."
Keller, 2009 Jul 24. The Cooking Ape. Science 325:394-395. "In their books, Wrangham and Burton present two quite different perspectives on how learning to control fire may have played a crucial role in human evolution."
Vukusic, 2009 Jul 24. Evolutionary Photonics with a Twist. Science 325:398-399. "The iridescent appearance of the hard forewings of scarab beetles can be caused by complex helical nanostructures."
Nesse, 2009 Jul 23. Digesting evolution. Nature 460:461. Review of The Evolution of Obesity by Michael L. Power & Jay Schulkin.
Pennisi, 2009 Jul 17. Sequencing Neandertal Mitochondrial Genomes by the Half-Dozen. Science 325:252. "On page 318 of this week's issue of Science, researchers describe a new technique to decipher the entire mitochondrial genomes from five Neandertals. These genomes show relatively little genetic diversity among Neandertals scattered across Europe and Russia."
Tung et al., 2009 Jul 16. Evolution of a malaria resistance gene in wild primates. Nature 460:388. "The study of a population of yellow baboons in Amboseli National Park in Kenya reveals the first reported association and functional characterization linking genetic variation and a complex trait — susceptibility to malaria — in a natural population of nonhuman primates."
Balter, 2009 Jul 10. Bringing Hominins Back to Life. Science 325:136-139. "To reconstruct our ancestors, paleoartists weave art and science together in a sometimes uneasy marriage. The result is lifelike models that influence how both researchers and the public view ancient humans."
?, 2009 Jul 9. Microbes exploit groundhog day. Nature 460:181. "Can microorganisms learn from history? When a sequence of environmental changes is repeated, natural selection might select for responses that enable the microbes to prepare for later challenges in the sequence."
Mitchell et al., 2009 Jul 9. Adaptive prediction of environmental changes by microorganisms. Nature 460:220. "Habitats where environmental change occurs in a reliable order offer microorganisms the opportunity to prepare in advance. Here, in both the bacterium Escherichia coli and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, stimuli that typically appear early in the ecology of the organism are shown to induce genes that are useful for coping with conditions that normally occur later, a process that is also shown to improve fitness."
What did the first neurons and nervous systems look like, and what advantages did they confer on the animals that possessed them? In the seventh essay in Science's series in honor of the Year of Darwin, Greg Miller discusses some tantalizing clues that scientists have recently gained about the evolutionary origins of nervous systems.
Clément and Quessada, 2009 Jun 26. Creationist Beliefs in Europe. Science 325:1644.
Hrdy argues that human capacity for understanding arose from the cooperative nature of our "complicated and contingent form of childrearing."
Friedman, 2009 Jun 26. Auxin at the Evo-Devo Intersection. Science 324:1652-1653. "The female gametophyte of flowering plants may have evolved through iteration of a modular structure and a gradient of the hormone auxin."
Smith et al., 2009 Jun 25. Origins and evolutionary genomics of the 2009 swine-origin H1N1 influenza A epidemic. Nature 459:1122. "Evolutionary analysis of swine-origin H1N1 influenza A virus provides evidence that it was derived from several viruses circulating in swine and that it possesses genes from avian, swine and human origin. Furthermore, transmission to humans may have occurred several months before recognition of the current outbreak."
Löytynoja and Goldman, 2009 Jun 19. Uniting Alignments and Trees. Science 324:1528-1529. "An iterative method that estimates both sequence alignments and phylogenies leads to improved phylogenetic trees for large data sets."
Plant fossils from East Greenland record an abrupt decrease in abundance as CO2 levels increased.
Ciochon, 2009 Jun 18. The mystery ape of Pleistocene Asia. Nature 459:910. "Fossil finds of early humans in southeast Asia may actually be the remains of an unknown ape. Russell Ciochon says that many palaeoanthropologists — including himself — have been mistaken."
Xu et al., 2009 Jun 18. A Jurassic ceratosaur from China helps clarify avian digital homologies. Nature 459:940. "The bird hand is thought to derive from the second, third and fourth digits of an ancestral five-digit hand. However, the three-fingered hand of theropod dinosaurs, which are the closest extinct relatives of birds, are thought to derive from the first, second and third digits. The discovery of a small, primitive herbivorous theropod from the Jurassic period of China with a stub of the first digit alongside more developed second, third and fourth digits, sheds light on this problem."
Wild et al., 2009 Jun 18. Adaptation and the evolution of parasite virulence in a connected world. Nature 459:983. "The evolution of lowered virulence in spatially structured populations with limited dispersal has been suggested to be an example of adaptation at the group level. The extension of previous models now shows that the effect of dispersal can be understood within the framework of inclusive fitness theory, demonstrating that reduced virulence could be due to individual-level adaptation by the parasite."
Mace, 2009 Jun 5. On Becoming Modern. Science 324:1280-1281. "Human social evolution is determined by demography."
?, 2009 Jun 4. Evolution of pathogenicity and sexual reproduction in eight Candida genomes. Nature 459:657. "Candida species are the most common cause of opportunistic fungal infection worldwide. Here, the genomes of six Candida species are sequenced and compared with each other and with related pathogens and non-pathogens; providing insight into the genetic features that underlie the diversity of Candida biology, including pathogenesis and the architecture of mating and meiotic processes."
Tokuriki and Tawfik, 2009 Jun 4. Chaperonin overexpression promotes genetic variation and enzyme evolution. Nature 459:668. "Amino acid mutations that alter a protein's function can affect the stability of the protein, but these mutations are believed to be 'buffered' by chaperones, or heat-shock proteins-potentially facilitating the acquisition of genetic diversity and the rate of adaptation. Here, the overexpression of bacterial GroEL/GroES chaperonins is found to double the number of accumulating mutations in four different enzymes in vitro."
Trefil et al., 2009 May-Jun. The Origin of Life. American Scientist "A case is made for the descent of electrons."
Gibbons, 2009 May 29. Celebrity Fossil Primate: Missing Link or Weak Link? Science 324:1124-1125. "A 47-million-year-old fossil primate has been touted as the "missing link" between humans and all other mammals. But many of the leading scientists who study primate evolution don't think Ida lives up to her billing as a human ancestor."
?, 2009 May 21. Origin of life: Nascence man. Nature 459:316. "Like an alchemist of yore, Mike Russell is taking basic elements and trying to transform them — not into gold, but into the stirrings of life, John Whitfield reports."
Smith, 2009 May 21. . Nature 459:321. "Erasmus Darwin saw sexual selection before his grandson."
Lieberman, 2009 May 7. Palaeoanthropology: Homo floresiensis from head to toe. Nature 459:41. "Fossils of tiny ancient humans, found on the island of Flores, have provoked much debate and speculation. Evidence that they are a real species comes from analyses of the foot and also — more surprisingly — of dwarf hippos."
Jungers et al., 2009 May 7. The foot of Homo floresiensis. Nature 459:81. "The 'hobbit', Homo floresiensis, was a species of diminutive hominin that lived on the island of Flores in Indonesia until around 14,000 years ago. Analysis of the legs and feet of the partial skeleton of the type specimen (LB1) shows some ape-like features which suggest an origin not from Homo erectus but rather some other, more primitive, hominin whose dispersal into southeast Asia is still undocumented."
Weston and Lister, 2009 May 7. Insular dwarfism in hippos and a model for brain size reduction in Homo floresiensis. Nature 459:85. "Body size reduction in mammals is accompanied by only a moderate reduction in brain size, so that the brains of dwarfs are proportionately larger than those of giants. Here, the brains of extinct dwarf hippos from the island of Madagascar are shown to be disproportionately very much smaller than those of their closest mainland relatives. If this trend no longer holds true on islands, it may explain the exceptionally small brain size of the diminutive hominin, Homo floresiensis."
Gibbons, 2009 May 1. Africans' Deep Genetic Roots Reveal Their Evolutionary Story. Science 324:575. "In the largest study ever of African genetic diversity, an international team of researchers reports online in Science this week that Africans are descended from 14 ancestral populations, which often correlate with language and cultural groups."
Service, 2009 May 1. Protein in 80-Million-Year-Old Fossil Bolsters Controversial T. rex Claim. Science 324:578. "A controversial finding that protein fragments can be recovered from dinosaur fossils has been replicated for the first time. On page 626 of this week's issue of Science, the same team reports finding an even larger number of protein fragments from an 80-million-year-old fossil from a duck-billed dinosaur, or hadrosaur, known as Brachylophosaurus canadensis."
Travis, 2009 May 1. On the Origin of The Immune System. Science 324:580-582. Did the immune system evolve to keep out harmful organisms, or is it like a bouncer at a nightclub, trained to allow the right microbes in and kick the less desirable ones out? In the fifth essay in Science's series in honor of the Year of Darwin, John Travis explores the evolution of the immune system.
Seehausen, 2009 Apr 30. Ecology: Speciation affects ecosystems. Nature 459:1122. "Evidence that speciation and adaptive radiation can change the properties of an ecosystem is a reminder of the pressing need to integrate ecosystems science and evolutionary biology."
Rybczynski and Tedford, 2009 Apr 23. A semi-aquatic Arctic mammalian carnivore from the Miocene epoch and origin of Pinnipedia. Nature 459:1021. "Seals, sea lions and the walrus (collectively the pinnipeds) evolved from land-living carnivores, but the earliest known pinniped, Enaliarctos, already had flippers. This paper describes a fossil from the Canadian Arctic that represents an earlier stage in pinniped evolution, documenting the otter-like transition between land and water."
Friedman, 2009 Apr 17. Emerging onto a Tangled Bank. Science 324:341-342. "Fossils reveal how early tetrapods moved from water to land at an individual--rather than a phylogenetic--scale."
Bolhuis and Wynne, 2009 Apr 16. Can evolution explain how minds work?. Nature 459:832. "Biologists have tended to assume that closely related species will have similar cognitive abilities. Johan J. Bolhuis and Clive D. L. Wynne put this evolutionarily inspired idea through its paces."
Pennisi, 2009 Apr 17. Darwin Applies to Medical School. Science 324:162-163. "At a meeting last week on Evolution in Health and Medicine, researchers reported headway in understanding drug resistance through the lens of evolution and progress in linking past evolutionary adaptations with current health problems."
?, 2009 Apr 9. Evolution: Biology's next top model?. Nature 459:695. "From Antarctic icefish to Galapagos finches, there are some interesting characters at the fringes of developmental biology. Brendan Maher explores a world of alternative model organisms."
Pennisi, 2009 Apr 3. On the Origin of Flowering Plants. Science 324:28-31. "Which plant was the mother of all angiosperms? In the fourth essay in Science's series in honor of the Year of Darwin, Elizabeth Pennisi discusses efforts to answer Darwin's question about how flowering plants diversified and spread so rapidly across the globe."
Rutherford, 2009 Apr 2. Q&A: Building on paradise. Nature 459:967. "Communicating the ideas of evolution is as much a challenge now as it was 150 years ago. In the wake of his recent BBC television programme, Charles Darwin and the Tree of Life, naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough tackles those who challenge evolution head on."
Coates, 2009 Mar 26. Beyond the Age of Fishes. Nature 458:413. "Discovery of an unusually intact and ancient fossil fish provides further evidence that the search for modern vertebrate origins requires breaking out of the Devonian and into the preceding period."
Balter, 2009 Mar 20. Recipe for Rice Domestication Required Millennia. Science 323:1550. "Archaeologists argue that rice remains from a 7000-year-old site in the Yangtze delta point to a later and slower domestication than has often been claimed."
Hurdia, a Cambrian fossil, clarifies the morphology and evolution of early arthropod limbs and head.
?, 2009 Mar 19. Turkey censors evolution. Nature 458:259. "Turkey's government has done more for science than many. A row over a censored magazine and a sacked editor could put the good work at risk."
, 2009 Mar 19. Fuzzy origins for feathers. Nature 458:293. "Cretaceous fossil deposits in China are famous for their feathered dinosaurs. But the surprising discovery of a herbivorous dinosaur with a filamentous coat raises fresh questions about the evolution of feathers."
Gibbons, 2009 Mar 13. Ice Age No Barrier to 'Peking Man' Science 323:1419. "Chinese and American researchers have redated bones and tools from the richest Homo erectus site in the world with a new radiometric method. In work published this week, they date the oldest human fossils to about 770,000 years ago, showing that H. erectus was able to survive mild glacial conditions at a northern site."
Ciochon and Bettis, 2009 Mar 12. Asian Homo erectus converges in time. Nature 458:153. "Re-evaluation of the age of Zhoukoudian, a prominent site of Homo erectus occupation in China, prompts a rethink of the species' distribution in both the temperate north and the equatorial south of east Asia."
Hendry, 2009 Mar 12. Speciation. Nature 458:162. "On the Origin of Species . . the title of Charles Darwin's great work of 1859 seemed to promise a solution to this 'mystery of mysteries'. Although we now know vastly more about speciation than we did 150 years ago, the one mystery has become many — and the possible solutions have multiplied."
Curry, 2009 Feb 26. EVOLUTION: Creationist Beliefs Persist in Europe. Science 323:1159. "Creationism remains alive and well in Europe, according to researchers gathered here last week for a conference on the state of European science education and European teachers' attitudes toward and knowledge of evolution."
Crompton and Pataky, 2009 Feb 26. ANTHROPOLOGY: Stepping Out. Science 323:1174-1175. "What can fossil footprints reveal about the evolution of the human foot?"
Ahlberg, 2009 Feb 26. Palaeontology: Birth of the jawed vertebrates. Nature 457:1094. "The discovery of embryos in certain fossil fishes not only shows that internal fertilization and live birth evolved early in vertebrate history, but also raises questions about the origin of jawed vertebrates."
Balter, 2009 Feb 13. A Neandertal Primer. Science 323:870. "The rough draft of the Neandertal nuclear genome may usher in a brave new world of research on these extinct humans, but after 150 years of study, we already know a few things about them."
?, 2009 Feb 12. Humanity and evolution. Nature 457:763. "Charles Darwin's thinking about the natural world was profoundly influenced by his revulsion for slavery."
Hayden, 2009 Feb 12. Darwin 200: The other strand. Nature 457:776. "Geneticists looked to the human genome to understand human evolution. But it's hard to interpret without considering the inheritance of culture."
Stenseth & Dunlop, 2009 Feb 12. Evolution: Unnatural selection. Nature 457:803. "Fishing and hunting by humans are the main causes of mortality in many populations of wild animals. The consequence is that large and rapid changes occur in certain characteristics that far exceed changes due to other agents."
Balter, 2009 Feb 6. ORIGINS: On the Origin of Art and Symbolism. Science 323:709-711. "How and when was the artistic gift born? In the second essay in Science's series in honor of the Year of Darwin, Michael Balter discusses the evolution of the human ability to develop mental images and convey them through abstract means such as drawing and sculpting."
Brocks & Butterfield, 2009 Feb 5. Biogeochemistry: Early animals out in the cold. Nature 457:672. "The enduring controversy about the appearance of animals in the evolutionary record takes a fresh twist with an analysis of molecular fossils that places the rise of the sponge lineage before 635 million years ago."
Buller, 2009 Jan. Evolution of the Mind: 4 Fallacies of Psychology. Scientific American "Some evolutionary psychologists have made widely popularized claims about how the human mind evolved, but other scholars argue that the grand claims lack solid evidence."
Orr, 2009 Jan. Testing Natural Selection with Genetics. Scientific American "Biologists working with the most sophisticated genetic tools are demonstrating that natural selection plays a greater role in the evolution of genes than even most evolutionists had thought."
Kingsley, 2009 Jan. Diversity Revealed: From Atoms to Traits. Scientific American "Charles Darwin saw that random variations in organisms provide fodder for evolution. Modern scientists are revealing how that diversity arises from changes to DNA and can add up to complex creatures or even cultures."
Branch and Scott, 2009 Jan. The Latest Face of Creationism in the Classroom. Scientific American "Creationists who want religious ideas taught as scientific fact in public schools continue to adapt to courtroom defeats by hiding their true aims under ever changing guises."
Mindell, 2009 Jan. Putting Evolution to Use in the Everyday World. Scientific American "Understanding of evolution is fostering powerful technologies for health care, law enforcement, ecology, and all manner of optimization and design problems."
Balter, 2009 Jan 30. Early Start for Human Art? Ochre May Revise Timeline. Science 323:569. "Thirteen engraved ochre pieces from Africa, many dated to 100,000 years ago, may represent an artistic or symbolic tradition, researchers suggest. If so, the timeline for the earliest known symbolic behavior must once again be redrawn."
The divergent evolution of a duplicated gene results in genetic incompatibilities between strains of the plant Arabidopsis.
Hurst, 2009 Jan 29. Evolutionary genomics: A positive becomes a negative. Nature 457:543. "Which human genes have been hotspots for positive selection? Analyses of the top candidates reveal, not genes subject to such selection, but genes that have probably been subject to biased DNA repair."
Louis, 2009 Jan 29. Evolutionary genetics: Origins of reproductive isolation. Nature 457:549. "A rare example of gene incompatibility between two species of budding yeast has been found. This discovery of elusive 'speciation' genes adds to other reproductive-isolation mechanisms operating in yeasts."
Bhattacharjee, 2009 Jan 23. Educators Decry New Louisiana Policy. Science 323:451. "Summary: Science teachers in Louisiana have been given permission to use supplementary material in the classroom in a move that many scientists and educators regard as a backdoor attempt to allow creationism and its variants into the classroom."
Adaptive differences in yeast sporulation arise from single-nucleotide mutations in transcription factors regulating sex.
?, 2009 Jan 22. Palaeontology: Herd of hearing. Nature 457:360.
Jerry A. Coyne reviews Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us About Development and Evolution by Mark S. Blumberg
Coyne, 2009 Jan 22. Evolution's challenge to genetics. Nature 457:382. "Do conjoined twins and two-legged goats suggest a minor role for genetics in evolution? The evidence is not strong enough to upset the orthodox view."
Summary: Trace fossils that are older than known animal fossils may have been formed by large unicellular organisms such as amoebas.
Bengtson and Rasmussen, 2009 Jan 16. New and Ancient Trace Makers. Science 323:346-347.
A gene responsible for sterility in the offspring of two mouse species, and therefore important in speciation, regulates gene expression via methylation in chromation.
Zimmer, 2009 Jan 9. On the Origin of Life on Earth. Science 323:198-199. "In the first of a monthly series of essays celebrating the Year of Darwin, Carl Zimmer discusses attempts to unravel how life originated on Earth by recreating the process in the laboratory."