When making sense of the massive amount of information packed into an ice core, scientists face a forensic challenge: how best to separate the useful information from the corrupt. Tools from information theory, a branch of complexity science, can quickly flag which segments, in over a million data points, require further investigation.
Medical University of Vienna professor Leopold Eckhart and colleagues have performed one of the largest comparative genomic studies to help determine the key molecular and evolutionary origins of mammalian adaptations seen in skin proteins. "The results of the present study provide important new data on the evolution of keratins that control the mechanical stability of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin," said Eckhart.
Many species of mammals have evolved what appear to be paradoxical behaviors towards their young. Like humans, most exhibit nurturing, protective behaviors, and in some circumstances even act as surrogate parents. However, virgin males often engage in infanticide as a strategy to propagate their own genes. How are these conflicting social behaviors controlled?
Our understanding of when the very first animals started living on land is helped by identifying trace fossils--the tracks and trails left by ancient animals--in sedimentary rocks that were deposited on the continents.
A protein family found naturally in our cells could help stop the spread of dangerous drug resistant infections by using 'detective' like powers to collect evidence of bacterial infection and imprison it, according to new research published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe.
Scientists introduce ORTHOSCOPE, a new web-based tool capable of inferring gene function, estimating gene trees and identifying sets of ancestral genes in just minutes.
The most comprehensive genomic analysis of the human brain ever undertaken has revealed new insights into the changes it undergoes through development, how it varies among individuals, and the roots of neuropsychiatric illnesses such as autism spectrum disorders and schizophrenia.
A characteristic feature of modern humans is the unusually round skull and brain, in contrast to the elongated shape seen in other human species. By studying Neandertal DNA fragments found in the genomes of living Europeans, scientists have now discovered genes that influence this globular shape. An interdisciplinary research team, led by the Max Planck Institutes for Psycholinguistics and Evolutionary Anthropology, brought together fossil skull data, brain imaging and genomics, as reported in Current Biology.
Scientists are revising the history of one of the world's most important crops. Drawing on genetic and archaeological evidence, researchers have found that a predecessor of today's corn plants still bearing many features of its wild ancestor was likely brought to South America from Mexico more than 6,500 years ago. Farmers in Mexico and the southwestern Amazon continued to improve the crop over thousands of years until it was fully domesticated in each region.
A distinctive feature of modern humans is our round (globular) skulls and brains. On Dec. 13, in the journal Current Biology, researchers report that present-day humans who carry particular Neandertal DNA fragments have heads that are slightly less rounded, revealing genetic clues to the evolution of modern brain shape and function.