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Sample records for molecular darwinian evolution

  1. Darwinian Evolution and Fractals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carr, Paul H.

    2009-05-01

    Did nature's beauty emerge by chance or was it intelligently designed? Richard Dawkins asserts that evolution is blind aimless chance. Michael Behe believes, on the contrary, that the first cell was intelligently designed. The scientific evidence is that nature's creativity arises from the interplay between chance AND design (laws). Darwin's ``Origin of the Species,'' published 150 years ago in 1859, characterized evolution as the interplay between variations (symbolized by dice) and the natural selection law (design). This is evident in recent discoveries in DNA, Madelbrot's Fractal Geometry of Nature, and the success of the genetic design algorithm. Algorithms for generating fractals have the same interplay between randomness and law as evolution. Fractal statistics, which are not completely random, characterize such phenomena such as fluctuations in the stock market, the Nile River, rainfall, and tree rings. As chaos theorist Joseph Ford put it: God plays dice, but the dice are loaded. Thus Darwin, in discovering the evolutionary interplay between variations and natural selection, was throwing God's dice!

  2. Environmental Epigenetics and a Unified Theory of the Molecular Aspects of Evolution: A Neo-Lamarckian Concept that Facilitates Neo-Darwinian Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Skinner, Michael K.

    2015-01-01

    Environment has a critical role in the natural selection process for Darwinian evolution. The primary molecular component currently considered for neo-Darwinian evolution involves genetic alterations and random mutations that generate the phenotypic variation required for natural selection to act. The vast majority of environmental factors cannot directly alter DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms directly regulate genetic processes and can be dramatically altered by environmental factors. Therefore, environmental epigenetics provides a molecular mechanism to directly alter phenotypic variation generationally. Lamarck proposed in 1802 the concept that environment can directly alter phenotype in a heritable manner. Environmental epigenetics and epigenetic transgenerational inheritance provide molecular mechanisms for this process. Therefore, environment can on a molecular level influence the phenotypic variation directly. The ability of environmental epigenetics to alter phenotypic and genotypic variation directly can significantly impact natural selection. Neo-Lamarckian concept can facilitate neo-Darwinian evolution. A unified theory of evolution is presented to describe the integration of environmental epigenetic and genetic aspects of evolution. PMID:25917417

  3. How Darwinian is cultural evolution?

    PubMed Central

    Claidière, Nicolas; Scott-Phillips, Thomas C.; Sperber, Dan

    2014-01-01

    Darwin-inspired population thinking suggests approaching culture as a population of items of different types, whose relative frequencies may change over time. Three nested subtypes of populational models can be distinguished: evolutionary, selectional and replicative. Substantial progress has been made in the study of cultural evolution by modelling it within the selectional frame. This progress has involved idealizing away from phenomena that may be critical to an adequate understanding of culture and cultural evolution, particularly the constructive aspect of the mechanisms of cultural transmission. Taking these aspects into account, we describe cultural evolution in terms of cultural attraction, which is populational and evolutionary, but only selectional under certain circumstances. As such, in order to model cultural evolution, we must not simply adjust existing replicative or selectional models but we should rather generalize them, so that, just as replicator-based selection is one form that Darwinian selection can take, selection itself is one of several different forms that attraction can take. We present an elementary formalization of the idea of cultural attraction. PMID:24686939

  4. Do Galaxies Follow Darwinian Evolution?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2006-12-01

    Using VIMOS on ESO's Very Large Telescope, a team of French and Italian astronomers have shown the strong influence the environment exerts on the way galaxies form and evolve. The scientists have for the first time charted remote parts of the Universe, showing that the distribution of galaxies has considerably evolved with time, depending on the galaxies' immediate surroundings. This surprising discovery poses new challenges for theories of the formation and evolution of galaxies. The 'nature versus nurture' debate is a hot topic in human psychology. But astronomers too face similar conundrums, in particular when trying to solve a problem that goes to the very heart of cosmological theories: are the galaxies we see today simply the product of the primordial conditions in which they formed, or did experiences in the past change the path of their evolution? ESO PR Photo 17/06 ESO PR Photo 45/06 Galaxy Distribution in Space In a large, three-year long survey carried out with VIMOS [1], the Visible Imager and Multi-Object Spectrograph on ESO's VLT, astronomers studied more than 6,500 galaxies over a wide range of distances to investigate how their properties vary over different timescales, in different environments and for varying galaxy luminosities [2]. They were able to build an atlas of the Universe in three dimensions, going back more than 9 billion years. This new census reveals a surprising result. The colour-density relation, that describes the relationship between the properties of a galaxy and its environment, was markedly different 7 billion years ago. The astronomers thus found that the galaxies' luminosity, their initial genetic properties, and the environments they reside in have a profound impact on their evolution. "Our results indicate that environment is a key player in galaxy evolution, but there's no simple answer to the 'nature versus nurture' problem in galaxy evolution," said Olivier Le Fèvre from the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille

  5. Aptamer Selection by Darwinian Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chauveau, F.; Pestourie, C.; Ducongé, F.; Tavitian, B.

    sequence encodes genetic information, while their wealth of structural potential remains virtually unexploited. In contrast, natural evolution has selected many RNA for their catalytic activities or for their ability to interact with proteins or other classes of molecules.

  6. Teaching Darwinian Evolution: Learning from Religious Education

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stolberg, Tonie L.

    2010-06-01

    This article examines what science education might be able to learn from phenomenological religious education’s attempts to teach classes where students hold a plurality of religious beliefs. Recent statements as to how best to accomplish the central pedagogical concept of ‘learning from religion’ as a vehicle for human transformation are explored, and then used to appraise the historical research into how Charles Darwin’s responses to religious ideas influenced and were influenced by his scientific work. The issues identified as crucial for science educators to be aware of when teaching students Darwinian evolution are then outlined and, finally, suggestions are made to enable individual students to examine how their personal religious beliefs might interact with their growing understanding of Darwin’s evolutionary approach.

  7. Is evolution Darwinian or/and Lamarckian?

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    -Lamarckian phenomenon because the induced genomic changes, although random, are triggered by environmental factors and are beneficial to the organism. Conclusion Both Darwinian and Lamarckian modalities of evolution appear to be important, and reflect different aspects of the interaction between populations and the environment. Reviewers this article was reviewed by Juergen Brosius, Valerian Dolja, and Martijn Huynen. For complete reports, see the Reviewers' reports section. PMID:19906303

  8. Darwinian evolution does not rule out the gaia hypothesis.

    PubMed

    Sugimoto, Takeshi

    2002-10-21

    This study explores so-called Darwinian Daisyworlds mathematically rigorously in detail. The original Daisyworld was introduced by Watson & Lovelock (1983) to demonstrate how two species of daisies regulate the global temperature of their planet through competition among these species against the rising solar luminosity, i.e. the Gaia hypothesis. Its variants are Darwinian Daisyworlds in which daisies can adapt themselves to the local temperature. Robertson & Robinson (1998) insist their Darwinian daisies lose the ability for temperature regulation on the basis of their spreadsheet simulations. Lenton & Lovelock (2000) point out that the constraints on adaptation recovers Darwinian daisies' ability of temperature regulation on the basis of their Euler-code simulations. The present study shows there exist the exact and closed-form solutions to these two Daisyworlds. The results contradict the former studies: Robertson and Robinson's daisies do regulate the global temperature even longer than non-adaptive daisies; Lenton and Lovelock's daisies are less adaptive than Robertson and Robinson's daisies because of the constraints on adaptation; the introduction of weak adaptability drives species into a dead end of evolution. Thus, the present results confirm that the Gaia hypothesis and Darwinian evolution can coexist. PMID:12384048

  9. Cell biology, molecular embryology, Lamarckian and Darwinian selection as evolvability.

    PubMed

    Hoenigsberg, H

    2003-01-01

    The evolvability of vertebrate systems involves various mechanisms that eventually generate cooperative and nonlethal functional variation on which Darwinian selection can operate. It is a truism that to get vertebrate animals to develop a coherent machine they first had to inherit the right multicellular ontogeny. The ontogeny of a metazoan involves cell lineages that progressively deny their own capacity for increase and for totipotency in benefit of the collective interest of the individual. To achieve such cell altruism Darwinian dynamics rescinded its original unicellular mandate to reproduce. The distinction between heritability at the level of the cell lineage and at the level of the individual is crucial. However, its implications have seldom been explored in depth. While all out reproduction is the Darwinian measure of success among unicellular organisms, a high replication rate of cell lineages within the organism may be deleterious to the individual as a functional unit. If a harmoniously functioning unit is to evolve, mechanisms must have evolved whereby variants that increase their own replication rate by failing to accept their own somatic duties are controlled. For questions involving organelle origins, see Godelle and Reboud, 1995 and Hoekstra, 1990. In other words, modifiers of conflict that control cell lineages with conflicting genes and new mutant replication rates that deviate from their somatic duties had to evolve. Our thesis is that selection at the level of the (multicellular) individual must have opposed selection at the level of the cell lineage. The metazoan embryo is not immune to this conflict especially with the evolution of set-aside cells and other modes of self-policing modifiers (Blackstone and Ellison, 1998; Ransick et al., 1996. In fact, the conflict between the two selection processes permitted a Lamarckian soma-to-germline feedback loop. This new element in metazoan ontogeny became the evolvability of the vertebrate adaptive

  10. Darwinian evolution in the light of genomics

    PubMed Central

    Koonin, Eugene V.

    2009-01-01

    Comparative genomics and systems biology offer unprecedented opportunities for testing central tenets of evolutionary biology formulated by Darwin in the Origin of Species in 1859 and expanded in the Modern Synthesis 100 years later. Evolutionary-genomic studies show that natural selection is only one of the forces that shape genome evolution and is not quantitatively dominant, whereas non-adaptive processes are much more prominent than previously suspected. Major contributions of horizontal gene transfer and diverse selfish genetic elements to genome evolution undermine the Tree of Life concept. An adequate depiction of evolution requires the more complex concept of a network or ‘forest’ of life. There is no consistent tendency of evolution towards increased genomic complexity, and when complexity increases, this appears to be a non-adaptive consequence of evolution under weak purifying selection rather than an adaptation. Several universals of genome evolution were discovered including the invariant distributions of evolutionary rates among orthologous genes from diverse genomes and of paralogous gene family sizes, and the negative correlation between gene expression level and sequence evolution rate. Simple, non-adaptive models of evolution explain some of these universals, suggesting that a new synthesis of evolutionary biology might become feasible in a not so remote future. PMID:19213802

  11. Reflections on Darwinian Evolution – Is there a Jewish Perspective?

    PubMed Central

    Jacob, Chaim O.

    2011-01-01

    I present a realistic view of what Darwinian evolution is in its current form and what it is not. I argue that the Torah is not a source of scientific knowledge and all attempts to reconcile its plain text with the data of science are an exercise in futility. The article argues the position that science and the Torah are incommensurable. I argue against using the Torah for attaining knowledge about the nature of the world, or using science for enhancing or denying the truth of the Torah. PMID:23908802

  12. "Synergistic selection": a Darwinian frame for the evolution of complexity.

    PubMed

    Corning, Peter A; Szathmáry, Eörs

    2015-04-21

    Non-Darwinian theories about the emergence and evolution of complexity date back at least to Lamarck, and include those of Herbert Spencer and the "emergent evolution" theorists of the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In recent decades, this approach has mostly been espoused by various practitioners in biophysics and complexity theory. However, there is a Darwinian alternative - in essence, an economic theory of complexity - proposing that synergistic effects of various kinds have played an important causal role in the evolution of complexity, especially in the "major transitions". This theory is called the "synergism hypothesis". We posit that otherwise unattainable functional advantages arising from various cooperative phenomena have been favored over time in a dynamic that the late John Maynard Smith characterized and modeled as "synergistic selection". The term highlights the fact that synergistic "wholes" may become interdependent "units" of selection. We provide some historical perspective on this issue, as well as a brief explication of the underlying theory and the concept of synergistic selection, and we describe two relevant models. PMID:25681798

  13. Non-Darwinian Express Evolution and Its Phenomenological Theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Azbel', Mark

    2001-03-01

    I quantify fitness (with the probability l(x) to survive to a given, in particular, reproductive, age x) and instantaneous environment (with the birth mortality q). I study l(x) vs q for a given x according to extensive data for humans and flies. To the specified accuracy, the dependence is reversible, independent of the previous history, rapidly (within few % of the lifespan) established. Most important, it is invariant with respect to environment and population genotypes (e.g., for different races, countries, times), i.e. to certain transformations. Mathematically such symmetry implies piecewise linear l(x) vs q, which proceeds via transitions (simultaneous for an entire population of different ages) to new phases. Similar to the Darwinian evolution, this short term adaptation is genetic (since it is independent of living conditions) and inheritable (since it proceeds for at least 10 reproductive generations). In contrast to the Darwinian evolution, it is reversible, rapid, fine-tuned to a single environmental variable, independent of previous history and of a specific DNA sequence (since it is the same for at least an entire species), and is inherited via genetically predetermined phases.

  14. Book review: Darwinian agriculture: How understanding evolution can improve agriculture by R. Ford Dennison

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Agricultural research continually seeks to increase productivity while protecting soil, water and genetic resources. The book Darwinian Agriculture: How Understanding Evolution Can Improve Agriculture, by R. Ford Dennison, delivers a thought-provoking view of how principles of ecology and evolution ...

  15. A Heritable Recombination system for synthetic Darwinian evolution in yeast.

    PubMed

    Romanini, Dante W; Peralta-Yahya, Pamela; Mondol, Vanessa; Cornish, Virginia W

    2012-12-21

    Genetic recombination is central to the generation of molecular diversity and enhancement of evolutionary fitness in living systems. Methods such as DNA shuffling that recapitulate this diversity mechanism in vitro are powerful tools for engineering biomolecules with useful new functions by directed evolution. Synthetic biology now brings demand for analogous technologies that enable the controlled recombination of beneficial mutations in living cells. Thus, here we create a Heritable Recombination system centered around a library cassette plasmid that enables inducible mutagenesis via homologous recombination and subsequent combination of beneficial mutations through sexual reproduction in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Using repair of nonsense codons in auxotrophic markers as a model, Heritable Recombination was optimized to give mutagenesis efficiencies of up to 6% and to allow successive repair of different markers through two cycles of sexual reproduction and recombination. Finally, Heritable Recombination was employed to change the substrate specificity of a biosynthetic enzyme, with beneficial mutations in three different active site loops crossed over three continuous rounds of mutation and selection to cover a total sequence diversity of 10(13). Heritable Recombination, while at an early stage of development, breaks the transformation barrier to library size and can be immediately applied to combinatorial crossing of beneficial mutations for cell engineering, adding important features to the growing arsenal of next generation molecular biology tools for synthetic biology. PMID:23412545

  16. Darwinian evolution in a translation-coupled RNA replication system within a cell-like compartment.

    PubMed

    Ichihashi, Norikazu; Usui, Kimihito; Kazuta, Yasuaki; Sunami, Takeshi; Matsuura, Tomoaki; Yomo, Tetsuya

    2013-01-01

    The ability to evolve is a key characteristic that distinguishes living things from non-living chemical compounds. The construction of an evolvable cell-like system entirely from non-living molecules has been a major challenge. Here we construct an evolvable artificial cell model from an assembly of biochemical molecules. The artificial cell model contains artificial genomic RNA that replicates through the translation of its encoded RNA replicase. We perform a long-term (600-generation) replication experiment using this system, in which mutations are spontaneously introduced into the RNA by replication error, and highly replicable mutants dominate the population according to Darwinian principles. During evolution, the genomic RNA gradually reinforces its interaction with the translated replicase, thereby acquiring competitiveness against selfish (parasitic) RNAs. This study provides the first experimental evidence that replicating systems can be developed through Darwinian evolution in a cell-like compartment, even in the presence of parasitic replicators. PMID:24088711

  17. Extremely high genetic diversity in a single tumor points to prevalence of non-Darwinian cell evolution

    PubMed Central

    Ling, Shaoping; Hu, Zheng; Yang, Zuyu; Yang, Fang; Li, Yawei; Lin, Pei; Chen, Ke; Dong, Lili; Cao, Lihua; Tao, Yong; Hao, Lingtong; Chen, Qingjian; Gong, Qiang; Wu, Dafei; Li, Wenjie; Zhao, Wenming; Tian, Xiuyun; Hao, Chunyi; Hungate, Eric A.; Catenacci, Daniel V. T.; Hudson, Richard R.; Li, Wen-Hsiung; Lu, Xuemei; Wu, Chung-I

    2015-01-01

    The prevailing view that the evolution of cells in a tumor is driven by Darwinian selection has never been rigorously tested. Because selection greatly affects the level of intratumor genetic diversity, it is important to assess whether intratumor evolution follows the Darwinian or the non-Darwinian mode of evolution. To provide the statistical power, many regions in a single tumor need to be sampled and analyzed much more extensively than has been attempted in previous intratumor studies. Here, from a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumor, we evaluated multiregional samples from the tumor, using either whole-exome sequencing (WES) (n = 23 samples) or genotyping (n = 286) under both the infinite-site and infinite-allele models of population genetics. In addition to the many single-nucleotide variations (SNVs) present in all samples, there were 35 “polymorphic” SNVs among samples. High genetic diversity was evident as the 23 WES samples defined 20 unique cell clones. With all 286 samples genotyped, clonal diversity agreed well with the non-Darwinian model with no evidence of positive Darwinian selection. Under the non-Darwinian model, MALL (the number of coding region mutations in the entire tumor) was estimated to be greater than 100 million in this tumor. DNA sequences reveal local diversities in small patches of cells and validate the estimation. In contrast, the genetic diversity under a Darwinian model would generally be orders of magnitude smaller. Because the level of genetic diversity will have implications on therapeutic resistance, non-Darwinian evolution should be heeded in cancer treatments even for microscopic tumors. PMID:26561581

  18. Extremely high genetic diversity in a single tumor points to prevalence of non-Darwinian cell evolution.

    PubMed

    Ling, Shaoping; Hu, Zheng; Yang, Zuyu; Yang, Fang; Li, Yawei; Lin, Pei; Chen, Ke; Dong, Lili; Cao, Lihua; Tao, Yong; Hao, Lingtong; Chen, Qingjian; Gong, Qiang; Wu, Dafei; Li, Wenjie; Zhao, Wenming; Tian, Xiuyun; Hao, Chunyi; Hungate, Eric A; Catenacci, Daniel V T; Hudson, Richard R; Li, Wen-Hsiung; Lu, Xuemei; Wu, Chung-I

    2015-11-24

    The prevailing view that the evolution of cells in a tumor is driven by Darwinian selection has never been rigorously tested. Because selection greatly affects the level of intratumor genetic diversity, it is important to assess whether intratumor evolution follows the Darwinian or the non-Darwinian mode of evolution. To provide the statistical power, many regions in a single tumor need to be sampled and analyzed much more extensively than has been attempted in previous intratumor studies. Here, from a hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tumor, we evaluated multiregional samples from the tumor, using either whole-exome sequencing (WES) (n = 23 samples) or genotyping (n = 286) under both the infinite-site and infinite-allele models of population genetics. In addition to the many single-nucleotide variations (SNVs) present in all samples, there were 35 "polymorphic" SNVs among samples. High genetic diversity was evident as the 23 WES samples defined 20 unique cell clones. With all 286 samples genotyped, clonal diversity agreed well with the non-Darwinian model with no evidence of positive Darwinian selection. Under the non-Darwinian model, MALL (the number of coding region mutations in the entire tumor) was estimated to be greater than 100 million in this tumor. DNA sequences reveal local diversities in small patches of cells and validate the estimation. In contrast, the genetic diversity under a Darwinian model would generally be orders of magnitude smaller. Because the level of genetic diversity will have implications on therapeutic resistance, non-Darwinian evolution should be heeded in cancer treatments even for microscopic tumors. PMID:26561581

  19. Comparative Structural Models of Similarities and Differences between "Vehicle" and "Target" in Order to Teach Darwinian "Evolution"

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marcelos, Maria Fatima; Nagem, Ronaldo L.

    2010-01-01

    Our objective is to contribute to the teaching of Classical Darwinian "Evolution" by means of a study of analogies and metaphors. Throughout the history of knowledge about "Evolution" and in Science teaching, tree structures have been used an analogs to refer to "Evolution," such as by Darwin in the "Tree of Life" passage contained in "On The…

  20. Bipolar transurethral resection of the prostate: Darwinian evolution of an instrumental technique.

    PubMed

    Mamoulakis, Charalampos; de la Rosette, Jean J M C H

    2015-05-01

    Bipolar transurethral resection of the prostate (B-TURP) represents a Darwinian evolution of an instrumental technique that has been justified by reinforcing the leading position of monopolar transurethral resection of the prostate. Notwithstanding limitations, the best available evidence recommends B-TURP as an attractive alternative. It may serve as a reliable training platform for modern residents. High-quality evidence is lacking to definitely define its position in treating special subpopulations (anticoagulation dependence, comorbidities, and large adenomas). Regarding economic issues, preliminary evidence supports B-TURP, warranting further investigation. Future perspectives include attempts toward improvements of the existing technology, combining advantages with those of other new techniques, and evolution to novel, potentially safer, or more efficient techniques to address remaining challenges. PMID:25704995

  1. Non-Darwinian evolution for the source detection of atmospheric releases

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cervone, Guido; Franzese, Pasquale

    2011-08-01

    A non-Darwinian evolutionary algorithm is presented as search engine to identify the characteristics of a source of atmospheric pollutants, given a set of concentration measurements. The algorithm drives iteratively a forward dispersion model from tentative sources toward the real source. The solutions of non-Darwinian evolution processes are not generated through pseudo-random operators, unlike traditional evolutionary algorithms, but through a reasoning process based on machine learning rule generation and instantiation. The new algorithm is tested with both a synthetic case and with the Prairie Grass field experiment. To further test the capabilities of the algorithm to work in real-world scenarios, the source identification of all Prairie Grass releases was performed with a decreasing number of sensor measurements, and a relationship is found between the precision of the solution, the number of sensors available, and the levels of concentration measured by the sensors. The proposed methodology can be used for a variety of optimization problems, and is particularly suited for problems where the operations needed for evaluating new candidate solutions are computationally expensive.

  2. Adaptive Evolution of Cooperation through Darwinian Dynamics in Public Goods Games

    PubMed Central

    Deng, Kuiying; Chu, Tianguang

    2011-01-01

    The linear or threshold Public Goods game (PGG) is extensively accepted as a paradigmatic model to approach the evolution of cooperation in social dilemmas. Here we explore the significant effect of nonlinearity of the structures of public goods on the evolution of cooperation within the well-mixed population by adopting Darwinian dynamics, which simultaneously consider the evolution of populations and strategies on a continuous adaptive landscape, and extend the concept of evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) as a coalition of strategies that is both convergent-stable and resistant to invasion. Results show (i) that in the linear PGG contributing nothing is an ESS, which contradicts experimental data, (ii) that in the threshold PGG contributing the threshold value is a fragile ESS, which cannot resist the invasion of contributing nothing, and (iii) that there exists a robust ESS of contributing more than half in the sigmoid PGG if the return rate is relatively high. This work reveals the significant effect of the nonlinearity of the structures of public goods on the evolution of cooperation, and suggests that, compared with the linear or threshold PGG, the sigmoid PGG might be a more proper model for the evolution of cooperation within the well-mixed population. PMID:22046240

  3. Identifying the Minimum-Energy Atomic Configuration on a Lattice: Lamarckian Twist on Darwinian Evolution

    SciTech Connect

    d'Avezac, M.; Zunger, A.

    2008-01-01

    We examine how the two different mechanisms proposed historically for biological evolution compare for the determination of crystal structures from random initial lattice configurations. The Darwinian theory of evolution contends that the genetic makeup inherited at birth is the one passed on during mating to new offspring, in which case evolution is a product of environmental pressure and chance. In addition to this mechanism, Lamarck surmised that individuals can also pass on traits acquired during their lifetime. Here we show that the minimum-energy configurations of a binary A{sub 1-x}B{sub x} alloy in the full 0 {le} x {le} 1 concentration range can be found much faster if the conventional Darwinian genetic progression--mating configurations and letting the lowest-energy (fittest) offspring survive--is allowed to experience Lamarckian-style fitness improvements during its lifetime. Such improvements consist of A {leftrightarrow} B transmutations of some atomic sites (not just atomic relaxations) guided by 'virtual-atom' energy gradients. This hybrid evolution is shown to provide an efficient solution to a generalized Ising Hamiltonian, illustrated here by finding the ground states of face-centered-cubic Au{sub 1-x}Pd{sub x} using a cluster-expansion functional fitted to first-principles total energies. The statistical rate of success of the search strategies and their practical applicability are rigorously documented in terms of average number of evaluations required to find the solution out of 400 independent evolutionary runs with different random seeds. We show that all exact ground states of a 12-atom supercell (2{sup 12} configurations) can be found within 330 total-energy evaluations, whereas a 36-atom supercell (2{sup 36} configurations) requires on average 39,000 evaluations. Thus, this problem cannot be currently addressed with confidence using costly energy functionals [e.g., density-functional theory (DFT) based] unless it is limited to {le} 20

  4. Evolution Born of Moisture: Analogies and Parallels Between Anaximander's Ideas on Origin of Life and Man and Later Pre-Darwinian and Darwinian Evolutionary Concepts.

    PubMed

    Kočandrle, Radim; Kleisner, Karel

    2013-01-01

    This study focuses on the origin of life as presented in the thought of Anaximander of Miletus but also points to some parallel motifs found in much later conceptions of both the pre-Darwinian German romantic science and post-Darwinian biology. According to Anaximander, life originated in the moisture associated with earth (mud). This moist environment hosted the first living creatures that later populated the dry land. In these descriptions, one can trace the earliest hints of the notion of environmental adaptation. The origin of humans was seen as connected in some way with fish: ancient humans were supposed to have developed inside fish-like animals. Anaximander took into account changes in the development of living creatures (adaptations) and speculated on the origins of humans. Similar ideas are found also in the writings of much later, eighteenth and nineteenth century authors who were close to the tradition of German romantic science. We do not argue that these later concepts are in any way directly linked with those of the pre-Socratics, but they show surprising parallels in, e.g., the hypothesis that life originated in a moist environment or the supposition that human developed from fish-like ancestors. These transformations are seen as a consequence of timeless logic rather than as evolution in historical terms. Despite the accent on the origin of living things, both Anaximander and the later Naturphilosophen lack in their notions the element most characteristic of Darwin's thought, that is, the emphasis on historicity and uniqueness of all that comes into being. PMID:22864993

  5. Thermal Solutions for Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mast, Christof B.; Osterman, Natan; Braun, Dieter

    2012-12-01

    The key requirement to solve the origin of life puzzle are disequilibrium conditions. Early molecular evolution cannot be explained by initial high concentrations of energetic chemicals since they would just react towards their chemical equilibrium allowing no further development. We argue here that persistent disequilibria are needed to increase complexity during molecular evolution. We propose thermal gradients as the disequilibrium setting which drove Darwinian molecular evolution. On the one hand the thermal gradient gives rise to laminar thermal convection flow with highly regular temperature oscillations that allow melting and replication of DNA. On the other hand molecules move along the thermal gradient, a mechanism termed Soret effect or thermophoresis. Inside a long chamber a combination of the convection flow and thermophoresis leads to a very efficient accumulation of molecules. Short DNA is concentrated thousand-fold, whereas longer DNA is exponentially better accumulated. We demonstrated both scenarios in the same micrometer-sized setting. Forthcoming experiments will reveal how replication and accumulation of DNA in a system, driven only by a thermal gradient, could create a Darwinian process of replication and selection.

  6. Individuals and groups in evolution: Darwinian pluralism and the multilevel selection debate.

    PubMed

    Pievani, Telmo

    2014-04-01

    Outlined here is an updated review of the long-standing 'kin selection vs group selection' debate. Group selection is a highly contentious concept, scientifically and philosophically. In 2012, Dawkins' attack against Wilson's latest book about eusociality concentrated all the attention on group selection and its mutual exclusivity with respect to inclusive fitness theory. Both opponents seem to be wrong, facing the general consensus in the field, which favours a pluralistic approach. Historically, despite some misunderstandings in current literature, such a perspective is clearly rooted in Darwin's writings, which suggested a plurality of levels of selection and a general view that we propose to call 'imperfect selfishness'. Today, the mathematically updated hypothesis of group selection has little to do with earlier versions of 'group selection'. It does not imply ontologically unmanageable notions of 'groups'. We propose here population structure as the main criterion of compatibility between kin selection and group selection. The latter is now evidently a pattern among others within a more general 'multilevel selection' theory. Different explanations and patterns are not mutually exclusive. Such a Darwinian pluralism is not a piece of the past, but a path into the future. A challenge in philosophy of biology will be to figure out the logical structure of this emerging pluralistic theory of evolution in such contentious debates. PMID:24736162

  7. Mode and tempo in the evolution of socio-political organization: reconciling 'Darwinian' and 'Spencerian' evolutionary approaches in anthropology.

    PubMed

    Currie, Thomas E; Mace, Ruth

    2011-04-12

    Traditional investigations of the evolution of human social and political institutions trace their ancestry back to nineteenth century social scientists such as Herbert Spencer, and have concentrated on the increase in socio-political complexity over time. More recent studies of cultural evolution have been explicitly informed by Darwinian evolutionary theory and focus on the transmission of cultural traits between individuals. These two approaches to investigating cultural change are often seen as incompatible. However, we argue that many of the defining features and assumptions of 'Spencerian' cultural evolutionary theory represent testable hypotheses that can and should be tackled within a broader 'Darwinian' framework. In this paper we apply phylogenetic comparative techniques to data from Austronesian-speaking societies of Island South-East Asia and the Pacific to test hypotheses about the mode and tempo of human socio-political evolution. We find support for three ideas often associated with Spencerian cultural evolutionary theory: (i) political organization has evolved through a regular sequence of forms, (ii) increases in hierarchical political complexity have been more common than decreases, and (iii) political organization has co-evolved with the wider presence of hereditary social stratification. PMID:21357233

  8. Darwinian Liberal Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Arnhart, Larry

    2006-01-01

    Be it metaphysics, theology, or some other unifying framework, humans have long sought to determine "first principles" underlying knowledge. Larry Arnhart continues in this vein, positing a Darwinian web of genetic, cultural, and cognitive evolution to explain our social behavior in terms of human nature as governed by biology. He leaves it to us…

  9. Research program for a search of the origin of Darwinian evolution - Research program for a vesicle-based model of the origin of Darwinian evolution on prebiotic early Earth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tessera, Marc

    2016-03-01

    The search for origin of `life' is made even more complicated by differing definitions of the subject matter, although a general consensus is that an appropriate definition should center on Darwinian evolution (Cleland and Chyba 2002). Within a physical approach which has been defined as a level-4 evolution (Tessera and Hoelzer 2013), one mechanism could be described showing that only three conditions are required to allow natural selection to apply to populations of different system lineages. This approach leads to a vesicle- based model with the necessary properties. Of course such a model has to be tested. Thus, after a brief presentation of the model an experimental program is proposed that implements the different steps able to show whether this new direction of the research in the field is valid and workable.

  10. Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913): the forgotten co-founder of the Neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution.

    PubMed

    Kutschera, Ulrich; Hossfeld, Uwe

    2013-12-01

    The British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913), who had to leave school aged 14 and never attended university, did extensive fieldwork, first in the Amazon River basin (1848-1852) and then in Southeast Asia (1854-1862). Based on this experience, and after reading the corresponding scientific literature, Wallace postulated that species were not created, but are modified descendants of pre-existing varieties (Sarawak Law paper, 1855). Evolution is brought about by a struggle for existence via natural selection, which results in the adaptation of those individuals in variable populations who survive and reproduce (Ternate essay, 1858). In his monograph Darwinism (1889), and in subsequent publications, Wallace extended the contents of Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) into the Neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution, with reference to the work of August Weismann (1834-1914). Wallace also became the (co)-founder of biogeography, biodiversity research, astrobiology and evolutionary anthropology. Moreover, he envisioned what was later called the anthropocene (i.e., the age of human environmental destructiveness). However, since Wallace believed in atheistic spiritualism and mixed up scientific facts and supernatural speculations in some of his writings, he remains a controversial figure in the history of biology. PMID:23982797

  11. A Scoring Rubric for Students' Responses to Simple Evolution Questions: Darwinian Components

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jensen, Murray; Moore, Randy; Hatch, Jay; Hsu, Leon

    2007-01-01

    The call to teach students Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection has been made by a variety of professional organizations. In addition to these national organizations, almost every state has science education guidelines calling for the teaching of evolution. Many administrators and policymakers believe that evolution is being taught,…

  12. Darwinian Controversies: An Historiographical Recounting

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Depew, David J.

    2010-01-01

    This essay reviews key controversies in the history of the Darwinian research tradition: the Wilberforce-Huxley debate in 1860, early twentieth-century debates about the heritability of acquired characteristics and the consistency of Mendelian genetics with natural selection; the 1925 Scopes trial about teaching evolution; tensions about race,…

  13. Mistakes and Molecular Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Trevors, J. T.

    1998-01-01

    Examines the role mistakes play in the molecular evolution of bacteria. Discusses the interacting physical, chemical, and biological factors that cause changes in DNA and play a role in prokaryotic evolution. (DDR)

  14. Darwinian Daisyworld.

    PubMed

    Roberston, D; Robinson, J

    1998-11-01

    The Daisyworld model was developed to show that organisms can collectively regulate the global environment without assuming conscious or altruistic behaviour, i.e. that Gaia is feasible. We studied the effects of adaptive evolution of Daisyworld by allowing daisies to shift their optimal growth temperatures toward the prevailing temperature. This estimates Daisyworld's homeostatic ability, suggesting a trade-off between the ability of organisms to collectively regulate the environment and the abilities of evolving genotypes to adapt to it. PMID:9802955

  15. [Haeckel: a German Darwinian?].

    PubMed

    Schmitt, Stéphane

    2009-01-01

    German biologist Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919) is often considered the most renowned Darwinian in his country since, as early as 1862, he declared that he accepted the conclusions Darwin had reached three years before in On the Origin of Species, and afterwards, he continuously proclaimed himself a supporter of the English naturalist and championed the evolutionary theory. Nevertheless, if we examine carefully his books, in particular his General Morphology (1866), we can see that he carries on a tradition very far from Darwin's thoughts. In spite of his acceptance of the idea of natural selection, that he establishes as an argument for materialism, he adopts, indeed, a conception of evolution that is, in some respects, rather close to Lamarck's views. He is, thus, a good example of the ambiguities of the reception of Darwinism in Germany in the second part of the 19th century. PMID:19281944

  16. Darwinian medicine and psoriasis.

    PubMed

    Romaní de Gabriel, J

    2015-04-01

    Darwinian medicine, or evolutionary medicine, regards some pathological conditions as attempts by the organism to solve a problem or develop defense mechanisms. At certain stages of human evolution, some diseases may have conferred a selective advantage. Psoriasis is a high-penetrance multigenic disorder with prevalence among whites of up to 3%. Psoriatic lesions have been linked with enhanced wound-healing qualities and greater capacity to fight infection. Leprosy, tuberculosis, and infections caused by viruses similar to human immunodeficiency virus have been postulated as environmental stressors that may have selected for psoriasis-promoting genes in some human populations. The tendency of patients with severe psoriasis to develop metabolic syndrome may reflect the body's attempt to react to environmental stresses and warning signs by triggering insulin resistance and fat storage. PMID:25129580

  17. Darwinian selection leads to Gaia.

    PubMed

    Staley, Mark

    2002-09-01

    The Gaia hypothesis, in its strongest form, states that the Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and biota form a tightly coupled system that maintains environmental conditions close to optimal for life. According to Gaia theory, optimal conditions are intrinsic, immutable properties of living organisms. It is assumed that the role of Darwinian selection is to favor organisms that act to stabilize environmental conditions at these optimal levels. In this paper, an alternative form of Gaia theory based on more traditional Darwinian principles is proposed. In the new approach, environmental regulation is a consequence of population dynamics, not Darwinian selection. The role of selection is to favor organisms that are best adapted to prevailing environmental conditions. However, the environment is not a static backdrop for evolution, but is heavily influenced by the presence of living organisms. The resulting co-evolving dynamical process eventually leads to the convergence of equilibrium and optimal conditions. A simple Daisyworld model is used to illustrate this convergence phenomenon. Sensitivity analysis of the Daisyworld model suggests that in stable ecosystems, the convergence of equilibrium and optimal conditions is inevitable, provided there are no externally driven shocks to the system. The end result may appear to be the product of a cooperative venture, but is in fact the outcome of Darwinian selection acting upon "selfish" organisms. PMID:12297068

  18. Workshop on Molecular Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cummings, Michael P.

    2004-01-01

    Molecular evolution has become the nexus of many areas of biological research. It both brings together and enriches such areas as biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, population genetics, systematics, developmental biology, genomics, bioinformatics, in vitro evolution, and molecular ecology. The Workshop provides an important contribution to these fields in that it promotes interdisciplinary research and interaction, and thus provides a glue that sticks together disparate fields. Due to the wide range of fields addressed by the study of molecular evolution, it is difficult to offer a comprehensive course in a university setting. It is rare for a single institution to maintain expertise in all necessary areas. In contrast, the Workshop is uniquely able to provide necessary breadth and depth by utilizing a large number of faculty with appropriate expertise. Furthermore, the flexible nature of the Workshop allows for rapid adaptation to changes in the dynamic field of molecular evolution. For example, the 2003 Workshop included recently emergent research areas of molecular evolution of development and genomics.

  19. Effects of Darwinian Selection and Mutability on Rate of Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Evolution during HIV-1 Infection.

    PubMed

    Sheng, Zizhang; Schramm, Chaim A; Connors, Mark; Morris, Lynn; Mascola, John R; Kwong, Peter D; Shapiro, Lawrence

    2016-05-01

    Accumulation of somatic mutations in antibody variable regions is critical for antibody affinity maturation, with HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) generally requiring years to develop. We recently found that the rate at which mutations accumulate decreases over time, but the mechanism governing this slowing is unclear. In this study, we investigated whether natural selection and/or mutability of the antibody variable region contributed significantly to observed decrease in rate. We used longitudinally sampled sequences of immunoglobulin transcripts of single lineages from each of 3 donors, as determined by next generation sequencing. We estimated the evolutionary rates of the complementarity determining regions (CDRs), which are most significant for functional selection, and found they evolved about 1.5- to 2- fold faster than the framework regions. We also analyzed the presence of AID hotspots and coldspots at different points in lineage development and observed an average decrease in mutability of less than 10 percent over time. Altogether, the correlation between Darwinian selection strength and evolutionary rate trended toward significance, especially for CDRs, but cannot fully explain the observed changes in evolutionary rate. The mutability modulated by AID hotspots and coldspots changes correlated only weakly with evolutionary rates. The combined effects of Darwinian selection and mutability contribute substantially to, but do not fully explain, evolutionary rate change for HIV-1-targeting bnAb lineages. PMID:27191167

  20. Effects of Darwinian Selection and Mutability on Rate of Broadly Neutralizing Antibody Evolution during HIV-1 Infection

    PubMed Central

    Sheng, Zizhang; Schramm, Chaim A.; Connors, Mark; Morris, Lynn; Mascola, John R.; Kwong, Peter D.; Shapiro, Lawrence

    2016-01-01

    Accumulation of somatic mutations in antibody variable regions is critical for antibody affinity maturation, with HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) generally requiring years to develop. We recently found that the rate at which mutations accumulate decreases over time, but the mechanism governing this slowing is unclear. In this study, we investigated whether natural selection and/or mutability of the antibody variable region contributed significantly to observed decrease in rate. We used longitudinally sampled sequences of immunoglobulin transcripts of single lineages from each of 3 donors, as determined by next generation sequencing. We estimated the evolutionary rates of the complementarity determining regions (CDRs), which are most significant for functional selection, and found they evolved about 1.5- to 2- fold faster than the framework regions. We also analyzed the presence of AID hotspots and coldspots at different points in lineage development and observed an average decrease in mutability of less than 10 percent over time. Altogether, the correlation between Darwinian selection strength and evolutionary rate trended toward significance, especially for CDRs, but cannot fully explain the observed changes in evolutionary rate. The mutability modulated by AID hotspots and coldspots changes correlated only weakly with evolutionary rates. The combined effects of Darwinian selection and mutability contribute substantially to, but do not fully explain, evolutionary rate change for HIV-1-targeting bnAb lineages. PMID:27191167

  1. Selectionism and Neutralism in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Nei, Masatoshi

    2006-01-01

    Charles Darwin proposed that evolution occurs primarily by natural selection, but this view has been controversial from the beginning. Two of the major opposing views have been mutationism and neutralism. Early molecular studies suggested that most amino acid substitutions in proteins are neutral or nearly neutral and the functional change of proteins occurs by a few key amino acid substitutions. This suggestion generated an intense controversy over selectionism and neutralism. This controversy is partially caused by Kimura's definition of neutrality, which was too strict (|2Ns| ≤ 1). If we define neutral mutations as the mutations that do not change the function of gene products appreciably, many controversies disappear because slightly deleterious and slightly advantageous mutations are engulfed by neutral mutations. The ratio of the rate of nonsynonymous nucleotide substitution to that of synonymous substitution is a useful quantity to study positive Darwinian selection operating at highly variable genetic loci, but it does not necessarily detect adaptively important codons. Previously, multigene families were thought to evolve following the model of concerted evolution, but new evidence indicates that most of them evolve by a birth-and-death process of duplicate genes. It is now clear that most phenotypic characters or genetic systems such as the adaptive immune system in vertebrates are controlled by the interaction of a number of multigene families, which are often evolutionarily related and are subject to birth-and-death evolution. Therefore, it is important to study the mechanisms of gene family interaction for understanding phenotypic evolution. Because gene duplication occurs more or less at random, phenotypic evolution contains some fortuitous elements, though the environmental factors also play an important role. The randomness of phenotypic evolution is qualitatively different from allele frequency changes by random genetic drift. However, there is

  2. The instinctual nation-state: non-Darwinian theories, state science and ultra-nationalism in Oka Asajirō's Evolution and Human Life.

    PubMed

    Sullivan, Gregory

    2011-01-01

    In his anthology of socio-political essays, Evolution and Human Life, Oka Asajirō (1868-1944), early twentieth century Japan's foremost advocate of evolutionism, developed a biological vision of the nation-state as super-organism that reflected the concerns and aims of German-inspired Meiji statism and anticipated aspects of radical ultra-nationalism. Drawing on non-Darwinian doctrines, Oka attempted to realize such a fused or organic state by enhancing social instincts that would bind the minzoku (ethnic nation) and state into a single living entity. Though mobilization during the Russo-Japanese War seemed to evince this super-organism, the increasingly contentious and complex society that emerged in the war's aftermath caused Oka to turn first to Lamarckism and eventually to orthogenesis in the hopes of preserving the instincts needed for a viable nation-state. It is especially in the state interventionist measures that Oka finally came to endorse in order to forestall orthogenetically-driven degeneration that the technocratic proclivities of his statist orientation become most apparent. The article concludes by suggesting that Oka's emphasis on degeneration, autarkic expansion, and, most especially, totalitarian submersion of individuals into the statist collectivity indicates a complex relationship between his evolutionism and fascist ideology, what recent scholarship has dubbed radical Shinto ultra-nationalism. PMID:21080039

  3. Evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sevenster, M.

    1993-01-01

    The evolution of interstellar molecular hydrogen was studied, with a special interest for the formation and evolution of molecular clouds and star formation within them, by a two-dimensional hydrodynamical simulation performed on a rectangular grid of physical sizes on the order of 100 pc. It is filled with an initial density of approx. 1 cm(exp -3), except for one cell (approx. 1 pc(exp 2)) at the center of the grid where an accretion core of 1-10(exp 3) solar masses is placed. The grid is co-moving with the gridcenter that is on a circular orbit around the Galactic center and that also is the guiding center of epicyclic approximation of orbits of the matter surrounding it. The initial radial velocity is zero; to account for differential rotation the initial tangential velocity (i.e. the movement around the galactic center) is proportional to the radial distance to the grid center. The rate is comparable to the rotation rate at the Local Standard of Rest. The influence of galactic rotation is noticed by spiral or elliptical forms, but on much longer time scales than self gravitation and cooling processes. Density and temperature are kept constant at the boundaries and no inflow is allowed along the tangential boundaries.

  4. Usefulness of a Darwinian System in a Biotechnological Application: Evolution of Optical Window Fluorescent Protein Variants under Selective Pressure

    PubMed Central

    Ng, David; Pauli, Jutta; Resch-Genger, Ute; Kühn, Enrico; Heuer, Steffen; Beisker, Wolfgang; Köster, Reinhard W.; Zitzelsberger, Horst; Caldwell, Randolph B

    2014-01-01

    With rare exceptions, natural evolution is an extremely slow process. One particularly striking exception in the case of protein evolution is in the natural production of antibodies. Developing B cells activate and diversify their immunoglobulin (Ig) genes by recombination, gene conversion (GC) and somatic hypermutation (SHM). Iterative cycles of hypermutation and selection continue until antibodies of high antigen binding specificity emerge (affinity maturation). The avian B cell line DT40, a cell line which is highly amenable to genetic manipulation and exhibits a high rate of targeted integration, utilizes both GC and SHM. Targeting the DT40's diversification machinery onto transgenes of interest inserted into the Ig loci and coupling selective pressure based on the desired outcome mimics evolution. Here we further demonstrate the usefulness of this platform technology by selectively pressuring a large shift in the spectral properties of the fluorescent protein eqFP615 into the highly stable and advanced optical imaging expediting fluorescent protein Amrose. The method is advantageous as it is time and cost effective and no prior knowledge of the outcome protein's structure is necessary. Amrose was evolved to have high excitation at 633 nm and excitation/emission into the far-red, which is optimal for whole-body and deep tissue imaging as we demonstrate in the zebrafish and mouse model. PMID:25192257

  5. The Molecular Basis of Evolution.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wilson, Allan C.

    1985-01-01

    Discovery that mutations accumulate at steady rates over time in the genes of all lineages of plants and animals has led to new insights into evolution at the molecular and organismal levels. Discusses molecular evolution, examining deoxyribonuclei acid (DNA) sequences, morphological distances, and codon rate of change. (DH)

  6. Extending and expanding the Darwinian synthesis: the role of complex systems dynamics.

    PubMed

    Weber, Bruce H

    2011-03-01

    Darwinism is defined here as an evolving research tradition based upon the concepts of natural selection acting upon heritable variation articulated via background assumptions about systems dynamics. Darwin's theory of evolution was developed within a context of the background assumptions of Newtonian systems dynamics. The Modern Evolutionary Synthesis, or neo-Darwinism, successfully joined Darwinian selection and Mendelian genetics by developing population genetics informed by background assumptions of Boltzmannian systems dynamics. Currently the Darwinian Research Tradition is changing as it incorporates new information and ideas from molecular biology, paleontology, developmental biology, and systems ecology. This putative expanded and extended synthesis is most perspicuously deployed using background assumptions from complex systems dynamics. Such attempts seek to not only broaden the range of phenomena encompassed by the Darwinian Research Tradition, such as neutral molecular evolution, punctuated equilibrium, as well as developmental biology, and systems ecology more generally, but to also address issues of the emergence of evolutionary novelties as well as of life itself. PMID:21300318

  7. Chemical evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Prasad, Sheo S.; Tarafdar, Sankar P.; Villere, Karen R.; Huntress, Wesley T., Jr.

    1987-01-01

    The principles behind the coupled chemical-dynamical evolution of molecular clouds are described. Particular attention is given to current problems involving the simplest species (i.e., C. CO, O2, and H2) in quiescent clouds. The results of a comparison made between the molecular abundances in the Orion ridge and the hot core (Blake, 1986) are presented.

  8. Molecular imprint of dust evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Akimkin, Vitaly; Zhukovska, Svitlana; Wiebe, Dmitri; Semenov, Dmitry; Pavlyuchenkov, Yaroslav; Vasyunin, Anton; Birnstiel, Til; Henning, Thomas

    2013-07-01

    Evolution of sub-micron grains is an essential process during early stages of planet formation. The dust growth and sedimentation to the midplane affect a spectral energy distribution. At the same time dust evolution can alter significantly the distribution of gas that is a factor of 100 more massive than dust and can be traced with molecular line observations. We present simulations of protoplanetary disk structure with grain evolution using the ANDES code ("AccretioN disk with Dust Evolution and Sedimentation"). ANDES comprises (1) a 1+1D frequency-dependent continuum radiative transfer module, (2) a module to calculate the chemical evolution using an extended gas-grain chemical network with UV/X-ray-driven processes and surface reactions, (3) a module to calculate the gas thermal energy balance, and (4) a 1+1D module that simulates dust grain evolution. Such a set of physical processes allows us to assess the impact of dust evolution on the gas component, which is primarily related to radiation field and total available surface for chemical reactions. Considering cases of (i) evolved dust (2 Myr of grain coagulation, fragmentation and sedimentation) and (ii) pristine dust (well- mixed 0.1 micron grains), we found a sufficient changes in disk physical and chemical structure caused by the dust evolution. Due to higher transparency of the evolved disk model UV-shielded molecular layer is shifted closer to the midplane. The presence of big grains in the disk midplane delays the freeze-out of volatile gas-phase species such as CO, while the depletion is still effective in adjacent upper layers. Molecular concentrations of many species are enhanced in the disk model with dust evolution (CO2, NH2CN, HNO, H2O, HCOOH, HCN, CO) which provides an opportunity to use these molecules as tracers of dust evolution.

  9. Darwinian Controversies: An Historiographical Recounting

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Depew, David J.

    2010-05-01

    This essay reviews key controversies in the history of the Darwinian research tradition: the Wilberforce-Huxley debate in 1860, early twentieth-century debates about the heritability of acquired characteristics and the consistency of Mendelian genetics with natural selection; the 1925 Scopes trial about teaching evolution; tensions about race, culture, and eugenics at the 1959 centenary celebration Darwin’s Origin of Species; adaptationism and its critics in the Sociobiology debate of 1970s and, more recently, Evolutionary Psychology; and current disputes about Intelligent Design. These controversies, I argue, are etched into public memory because they occur at the emotionally charged boundaries between public-political, technical-scientific, and personal-religious spheres of discourse. Over most of them falls the shadow of eugenics. The main lesson is that the history of Darwinism cannot be told except by showing the mutual influence of the different norms of discourse that obtain in the personal, technical, and public spheres. Nor can evolutionary biology successfully be taught to citizens and citizens-to-be until the fractious intersections between spheres of discourse have been made explicit. In the course of showing why, I take rival evolutionary approaches to be dynamical historical research traditions rather than static theories. Accordingly, I distinguish Darwin’s version of Darwinism from its later transformations. I pay special attention to the role Darwin assigned to development in evolution, which was marginalized by twentieth-century population genetical Darwinism, but has recently resurfaced in new forms. I also show how the disputed phrases “survival of the fittest” and “social Darwinism” have shaped personal anxieties about “Darwinism,” have provoked public opposition to teaching evolution in public schools, and have cast a shadow over efforts to effectively communicate to the public largely successful technical efforts to make

  10. Molecular evolution of HR, a gene that regulates the postnatal cycle of the hair follicle

    PubMed Central

    Abbasi, Amir Ali

    2011-01-01

    Hair is a unique mammalian trait that is absent in all other animal forms. Hairlessness is rare in mammals and humans are exceptional among primates in lacking dense layer of hair covering. HR was the first gene identified to be implicated in hair-cycle regulation. Point mutations in HR lead to congenital human hair loss, which results in the complete loss of body and scalp hairs. HR functions are indispensable for initiation of postnatal hair follicular cycling. This study investigates the phylogenetic history and analyzes the protein evolutionary rate to provide useful insight into the molecular evolution of HR. The data demonstrates an acceleration of HR sequence evolution in human branch and suggests that the ability of HR protein to mediate postnatal hair-cycling has been altered in the course of human evolution. In particular those residues were pinpointed which should be regarded as target of positive Darwinian selection during human evolution. PMID:22355551

  11. Darwinian Model Building

    SciTech Connect

    Kester, Do; Bontekoe, Romke

    2011-03-14

    We present a way to generate heuristic mathematical models based on the Darwinian principles of variation and selection in a pool of individuals over many generations. Each individual has a genotype (the hereditary properties) and a phenotype (the expression of these properties in the environment). Variation is achieved by cross-over and mutation operations on the genotype which consists in the present case of a single chromosome. The genotypes 'live' in the environment of the data. Nested Sampling is used to optimize the free parameters of the models given the data, thus giving rise to the phenotypes. Selection is based on the phenotypes.The evidences which naturally follow from the Nested Sampling Algorithm are used in a second level of Nested Sampling to find increasingly better models.The data in this paper originate from the Leiden Cytology and Pathology Laboratory (LCPL), which screens pap smears for cervical cancer. We have data for 1750 women who on average underwent 5 tests each. The data on individual women are treated as a small time series. We will try to estimate the next value of the prime cancer indicator from previous tests of the same woman.

  12. Darwinian Model Building

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kester, Do; Bontekoe, Romke

    2011-03-01

    We present a way to generate heuristic mathematical models based on the Darwinian principles of variation and selection in a pool of individuals over many generations. Each individual has a genotype (the hereditary properties) and a phenotype (the expression of these properties in the environment). Variation is achieved by cross-over and mutation operations on the genotype which consists in the present case of a single chromosome. The genotypes `live' in the environment of the data. Nested Sampling is used to optimize the free parameters of the models given the data, thus giving rise to the phenotypes. Selection is based on the phenotypes. The evidences which naturally follow from the Nested Sampling Algorithm are used in a second level of Nested Sampling to find increasingly better models. The data in this paper originate from the Leiden Cytology and Pathology Laboratory (LCPL), which screens pap smears for cervical cancer. We have data for 1750 women who on average underwent 5 tests each. The data on individual women are treated as a small time series. We will try to estimate the next value of the prime cancer indicator from previous tests of the same woman.

  13. The Janus face of Darwinian competition

    PubMed Central

    Hintze, Arend; Phillips, Nathaniel; Hertwig, Ralph

    2015-01-01

    Without competition, organisms would not evolve any meaningful physical or cognitive abilities. Competition can thus be understood as the driving force behind Darwinian evolution. But does this imply that more competitive environments necessarily evolve organisms with more sophisticated cognitive abilities than do less competitive environments? Or is there a tipping point at which competition does more harm than good? We examine the evolution of decision strategies among virtual agents performing a repetitive sampling task in three distinct environments. The environments differ in the degree to which the actions of a competitor can affect the fitness of the sampling agent, and in the variance of the sample. Under weak competition, agents evolve decision strategies that sample often and make accurate decisions, which not only improve their own fitness, but are good for the entire population. Under extreme competition, however, the dark side of the Janus face of Darwinian competition emerges: Agents are forced to sacrifice accuracy for speed and are prevented from sampling as often as higher variance in the environment would require. Modest competition is therefore a good driver for the evolution of cognitive abilities and of the population as a whole, whereas too much competition is devastating. PMID:26354182

  14. The Janus face of Darwinian competition.

    PubMed

    Hintze, Arend; Phillips, Nathaniel; Hertwig, Ralph

    2015-01-01

    Without competition, organisms would not evolve any meaningful physical or cognitive abilities. Competition can thus be understood as the driving force behind Darwinian evolution. But does this imply that more competitive environments necessarily evolve organisms with more sophisticated cognitive abilities than do less competitive environments? Or is there a tipping point at which competition does more harm than good? We examine the evolution of decision strategies among virtual agents performing a repetitive sampling task in three distinct environments. The environments differ in the degree to which the actions of a competitor can affect the fitness of the sampling agent, and in the variance of the sample. Under weak competition, agents evolve decision strategies that sample often and make accurate decisions, which not only improve their own fitness, but are good for the entire population. Under extreme competition, however, the dark side of the Janus face of Darwinian competition emerges: Agents are forced to sacrifice accuracy for speed and are prevented from sampling as often as higher variance in the environment would require. Modest competition is therefore a good driver for the evolution of cognitive abilities and of the population as a whole, whereas too much competition is devastating. PMID:26354182

  15. The Malthusian-Darwinian dynamic and the trajectory of civilization

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nekola, Jeffrey C.; Allen, Craig D.; Brown, James H.; Burger, Joseph R.; Davidson, Ana D.; Fristoe, Trevor S.; Hamilton, Marcus J.; Hammond, Sean T.; Kodric-Brown, Astrid; Mercado-Silva, Norman; Okie, Jordan G.

    2013-01-01

    Two interacting forces influence all populations: the Malthusian dynamic of exponential growth until resource limits are reached, and the Darwinian dynamic of innovation and adaptation to circumvent these limits through biological and/or cultural evolution. The specific manifestations of these forces in modern human society provide an important context for determining how humans can establish a sustainable relationship with the finite Earth.

  16. The Problem with a Darwinian View of Humanity

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Cunningham, Paul F.

    2009-01-01

    Comments on the special issue on Charles Darwin and psychology (Dewsbury, February-March 2009), in which the authors present evidence supporting the validity of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and how generations of psychologists have viewed the natural world through its light, taking Darwinian theories for granted as being a literal…

  17. Adaptive evolution of molecular phenotypes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Held, Torsten; Nourmohammad, Armita; Lässig, Michael

    2014-09-01

    Molecular phenotypes link genomic information with organismic functions, fitness, and evolution. Quantitative traits are complex phenotypes that depend on multiple genomic loci. In this paper, we study the adaptive evolution of a quantitative trait under time-dependent selection, which arises from environmental changes or through fitness interactions with other co-evolving phenotypes. We analyze a model of trait evolution under mutations and genetic drift in a single-peak fitness seascape. The fitness peak performs a constrained random walk in the trait amplitude, which determines the time-dependent trait optimum in a given population. We derive analytical expressions for the distribution of the time-dependent trait divergence between populations and of the trait diversity within populations. Based on this solution, we develop a method to infer adaptive evolution of quantitative traits. Specifically, we show that the ratio of the average trait divergence and the diversity is a universal function of evolutionary time, which predicts the stabilizing strength and the driving rate of the fitness seascape. From an information-theoretic point of view, this function measures the macro-evolutionary entropy in a population ensemble, which determines the predictability of the evolutionary process. Our solution also quantifies two key characteristics of adapting populations: the cumulative fitness flux, which measures the total amount of adaptation, and the adaptive load, which is the fitness cost due to a population's lag behind the fitness peak.

  18. The search for purpose in a post-Darwinian universe: George Bernard Shaw, 'creative evolution', and Shavian eugenics: 'The dark side of the force'.

    PubMed

    Hale, Piers J

    2006-01-01

    The Irish playwright and socialist George Bernard Shaw has been of marginal concern for historians of biology because his vitalist Lamarckism has been viewed as out of step with contemporary science. However, Julian Huxley and J.B.S. Haldane were certainly of the opinion that Shaw was a man of influence in this regard and took pains to counter his views in their own attempts to engage the public in science. Previously, Shaw's colleague and friend H.G. Wells had also agued with Shaw from his own mechanistic neo-Darwinian perspective. The very public debate between Shaw and Wells, which continued to concern Huxley and Haldane, shows that public concern over the moral implications of Darwinism has a long history. Taking into account the opinions of John Maynard Smith on this matter, I suggest that a consideration of Shaw in this context can give us an understanding of the historical popularity of vitalist teleology as well as of the persistent ambivalence to the non-normative character of Darwinism. PMID:17702503

  19. Three Laws in Darwinian Evolutionary Theory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ao, Ping

    2006-03-01

    Recent works to formulate laws in Darwinian evolutionary dynamics will be discussed. Specifically, three laws which form a consistent mathematical framework for the evolutionary dynamics in biology will be spelt out. The second law is most quantitative and is explicitly expressed in the unique form of a stochastic differential equation. Salient features of Darwinian evolutionary dynamics are captured by this law: the probabilistic nature of evolution, ascendancy, and the adaptive landscape. Four dynamical elements are introduced in this formulation: the ascendant matrix, the transverse matrix, the Wright evolutionary potential, and the stochastic drive. The first law may be regarded as a special case of the second law. It gives the reference point to discuss the evolutionary dynamics. The third law describes the relationship between the focused level of description to its lower and higher ones, and defines the dichotomy of deterministic and stochastic drives. It is an acknowledgement of the hierarchical structure in biology. A new interpretation of Fisher's fundamental theorem of natural selection is provided in terms of the F-Theorem. Ref. P. Ao, Physics of Life Reviews 2 (2005) 117-156.

  20. Bringing Molecules Back into Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Wilke, Claus O.

    2012-01-01

    Much molecular-evolution research is concerned with sequence analysis. Yet these sequences represent real, three-dimensional molecules with complex structure and function. Here I highlight a growing trend in the field to incorporate molecular structure and function into computational molecular-evolution work. I consider three focus areas: reconstruction and analysis of past evolutionary events, such as phylogenetic inference or methods to infer selection pressures; development of toy models and simulations to identify fundamental principles of molecular evolution; and atom-level, highly realistic computational modeling of molecular structure and function aimed at making predictions about possible future evolutionary events. PMID:22761562

  1. The loss of the hemoglobin H2S-binding function in annelids from sulfide-free habitats reveals molecular adaptation driven by Darwinian positive selection.

    PubMed

    Bailly, Xavier; Leroy, Riwanon; Carney, Susan; Collin, Olivier; Zal, Franck; Toulmond, Andre; Jollivet, Didier

    2003-05-13

    The hemoglobin of the deep-sea hydrothermal vent vestimentiferan Riftia pachyptila (annelid) is able to bind toxic hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S) to free cysteine residues and to transport it to fuel endosymbiotic sulfide-oxidising bacteria. The cysteine residues are conserved key amino acids in annelid globins living in sulfide-rich environments, but are absent in annelid globins from sulfide-free environments. Synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution analysis from two different sets of orthologous annelid globin genes from sulfide rich and sulfide free environments have been performed to understand how the sulfide-binding function of hemoglobin appeared and has been maintained during the course of evolution. This study reveals that the sites occupied by free-cysteine residues in annelids living in sulfide-rich environments and occupied by other amino acids in annelids from sulfide-free environments, have undergone positive selection in annelids from sulfide-free environments. We assumed that the high reactivity of cysteine residues became a disadvantage when H(2)S disappeared because free cysteines without their natural ligand had the capacity to interact with other blood components, disturb homeostasis, reduce fitness and thus could have been counterselected. To our knowledge, we pointed out for the first time a case of function loss driven by molecular adaptation rather than genetic drift. If constraint relaxation (H(2)S disappearance) led to the loss of the sulfide-binding function in modern annelids from sulfide-free environments, our work suggests that adaptation to sulfide-rich environments is a plesiomorphic feature, and thus that the annelid ancestor could have emerged in a sulfide-rich environment. PMID:12721359

  2. The loss of the hemoglobin H2S-binding function in annelids from sulfide-free habitats reveals molecular adaptation driven by Darwinian positive selection

    PubMed Central

    Bailly, Xavier; Leroy, Riwanon; Carney, Susan; Collin, Olivier; Zal, Franck; Toulmond, André; Jollivet, Didier

    2003-01-01

    The hemoglobin of the deep-sea hydrothermal vent vestimentiferan Riftia pachyptila (annelid) is able to bind toxic hydrogen sulfide (H2S) to free cysteine residues and to transport it to fuel endosymbiotic sulfide-oxidising bacteria. The cysteine residues are conserved key amino acids in annelid globins living in sulfide-rich environments, but are absent in annelid globins from sulfide-free environments. Synonymous and nonsynonymous substitution analysis from two different sets of orthologous annelid globin genes from sulfide rich and sulfide free environments have been performed to understand how the sulfide-binding function of hemoglobin appeared and has been maintained during the course of evolution. This study reveals that the sites occupied by free-cysteine residues in annelids living in sulfide-rich environments and occupied by other amino acids in annelids from sulfide-free environments, have undergone positive selection in annelids from sulfide-free environments. We assumed that the high reactivity of cysteine residues became a disadvantage when H2S disappeared because free cysteines without their natural ligand had the capacity to interact with other blood components, disturb homeostasis, reduce fitness and thus could have been counterselected. To our knowledge, we pointed out for the first time a case of function loss driven by molecular adaptation rather than genetic drift. If constraint relaxation (H2S disappearance) led to the loss of the sulfide-binding function in modern annelids from sulfide-free environments, our work suggests that adaptation to sulfide-rich environments is a plesiomorphic feature, and thus that the annelid ancestor could have emerged in a sulfide-rich environment. PMID:12721359

  3. Molecular evolution and thermal adaptation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, Peiqiu

    2011-12-01

    In this thesis, we address problems in molecular evolution, thermal adaptation, and the kinetics of adaptation of bacteria and viruses to elevated environmental temperatures. We use a nearly neutral fitness model where the replication speed of an organism is proportional to the copy number of folded proteins. Our model reproduces the distribution of stabilities of natural proteins in excellent agreement with experiment. We find that species with high mutation rates tend to have less stable proteins compared to species with low mutation rate. We found that a broad distribution of protein stabilities observed in the model and in experiment is the key determinant of thermal response for viruses and bacteria. Our results explain most of the earlier experimental observations: striking asymmetry of thermal response curves, the absence of evolutionary trade-off which was expected but not found in experiments, correlation between denaturation temperature for several protein families and the Optimal Growth Temperature (OGT) of their carrier organisms, and proximity of bacterial or viral OGTs to their evolutionary temperatures. Our theory quantitatively and with high accuracy described thermal response curves for 35 bacterial species. The model also addresses the key to adaptation is in weak-link genes (WLG), which encode least thermodynamically stable essential proteins in the proteome. We observe, as in experiment, a two-stage adaptation process. The first stage is a Luria-Delbruck type of selection, whereby rare WLG alleles, whose proteins are more stable than WLG proteins of the majority of the population (either due to standing genetic variation or due to an early acquired mutation), rapidly rise to fixation. The second stage constitutes subsequent slow accumulation of mutations in an adapted population. As adaptation progresses, selection regime changes from positive to neutral: Selection coefficient of beneficial mutations scales as a negative power of number of

  4. The Molecular Evolution of Actin

    PubMed Central

    Hightower, Robin C.; Meagher, Richard B.

    1986-01-01

    We have investigated the molecular evolution of plant and nonplant actin genes comparing nucleotide and amino acid sequences of 20 actin genes. Nucleotide changes resulting in amino acid substitutions (replacement substitutions) ranged from 3–7% for all pairwise comparisons of animal actin genes with the following exceptions. Comparisons between higher animal muscle actin gene sequences and comparisons between higher animal cytoplasmic actin gene sequences indicated <3% divergence. Comparisons between plant and nonplant actin genes revealed, with two exceptions, 11–15% replacement substitution. In the analysis of plant actins, replacement substitution between soybean actin genes SAc1, SAc3, SAc4 and maize actin gene MAc1 ranged from 8–10%, whereas these members within the soybean actin gene family ranged from 6–9% replacement substitution. The rate of sequence divergence of plant actin sequences appears to be similar to that observed for animal actins. Furthermore, these and other data suggest that the plant actin gene family is ancient and that the families of soybean and maize actin genes have diverged from a single common ancestral plant actin gene that originated long before the divergence of monocots and dicots. The soybean actin multigene family encodes at least three classes of actin. These classes each contain a pair of actin genes that have been designated kappa (SAc1, SAc6), lambda (SAc2, SAc4) and mu (SAc3, SAc7). The three classes of soybean actin are more divergent in nucleotide sequence from one another than higher animal cytoplasmic actin is divergent from muscle actin. The location and distribution of amino acid changes were compared between actin proteins from all sources. A comparison of the hydropathy of all actin sequences, except from Oxytricha, indicated a strong similarity in hydropathic character between all plant and nonplant actins despite the greater number of replacement substitutions in plant actins. These protein sequence

  5. Statistical limitations on molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Perlovsky, Leonid I

    2002-06-01

    Complexity of functions evolving in an evolution process are expected to be limited by the time length of an evolution process among other factors. This paper outlines a general method of deriving function-complexity limitations based on mathematical statistics and independent from details of a biological or genetic mechanism of the evolution of the function. Limitations on the emergence of life are derived, these limitations indicate a possibility of a very fast evolution and are consistent with "RNA world" hypothesis. The discussed method is general and can be used to characterize evolution of more specific biological organism functions and relate functions to genetic structures. The derived general limitations indicate that a co-evolution of multiple functions and species could be a slow process, whereas an evolution of a specific function might proceed very fast, so that no trace of intermediate forms (species) is preserved in fossil records of phenotype or DNA structure; this is consistent with a picture of "punctuated equilibrium". PMID:12023805

  6. Anarchy, socialism and a Darwinian left.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Ellen

    2006-03-01

    In A Darwinian left Peter Singer aims to reconcile Darwinian theory with left wing politics, using evolutionary game theory and in particular a model proposed by Robert Axelrod, which shows that cooperation can be an evolutionarily successful strategy. In this paper I will show that whilst Axelrod's model can give support to a kind of left wing politics, it is not the kind that Singer himself envisages. In fact, it is shown that there are insurmountable problems for the idea of increasing Axelrodian cooperation within a welfare state. My surprising conclusion will be that a Darwinian left worthy of the name would be anarchistic. PMID:16473272

  7. The Theory of Evolution: An Educational Perspective.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Johnson, William L.; Johnson, Annabel M.

    The article's thesis is that evolution's intellectual foundations have been steadily eroding, and that few new findings in embryology, taxonomy, fossil remains, and molecular biology are bringing us very near to a formal, logical disproof of Darwinian claims. The paper begins by discussing the evidence of a prehistoric world, then they discuss…

  8. Near-Neutrality: the Leading Edge of the Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hughes, Austin L.

    2009-01-01

    The nearly-neutral theory represents a development of Kimura’s Neutral Theory of Molecular Evolution that makes testable predictions that go beyond a mere null model. Recent evidence has strongly supported several of these predictions, including the prediction that slightly deleterious variants will accumulate in a species that has undergone a severe bottleneck or in cases where recombination is reduced or absent. Because bottlenecks often occur in speciation and slightly deleterious mutations in coding regions will usually be nonsynonymous, we should expect that the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous fixed differences between species should often exceed the ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous polymorphisms within species. Numerous data support this prediction, although they have often been wrongly interpreted as evidence for positive Darwinian selection. The use of conceptually flawed tests for positive selection has become widespread in recent years, seriously harming the quest for an understanding of genome evolution. When properly analyzed, many (probably most) claimed cases of positive selection will turn out to involve the fixation of slightly deleterious mutations by genetic drift in bottlenecked populations. Slightly deleterious variants are a transient feature of evolution in the long term, but they have had substantial impact on contemporary species, including our own. PMID:18559820

  9. Molecular evolution tracks macroevolutionary transitions in Cetacea.

    PubMed

    McGowen, Michael R; Gatesy, John; Wildman, Derek E

    2014-06-01

    Cetacea (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) is a model group for investigating the molecular signature of macroevolutionary transitions. Recent research has begun to reveal the molecular underpinnings of the remarkable anatomical and behavioral transformation in this clade. This shift from terrestrial to aquatic environments is arguably the best-understood major morphological transition in vertebrate evolution. The ancestral body plan and physiology were extensively modified and, in many cases, these crucial changes are recorded in cetacean genomes. Recent studies have highlighted cetaceans as central to understanding adaptive molecular convergence and pseudogene formation. Here, we review current research in cetacean molecular evolution and the potential of Cetacea as a model for the study of other macroevolutionary transitions from a genomic perspective. PMID:24794916

  10. Teaching Darwinian Evolution: Learning from Religious Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stolberg, Tonie L.

    2010-01-01

    This article examines what science education might be able to learn from phenomenological religious education's attempts to teach classes where students hold a plurality of religious beliefs. Recent statements as to how best to accomplish the central pedagogical concept of "learning from religion" as a vehicle for human transformation are…

  11. Study on a Possible Darwinian Origin of Quantum Mechanics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baladrón, C.

    2011-03-01

    A sketchy subquantum theory deeply influenced by Wheeler's ideas (Am. J. Phys. 51:398-404, 1983) and by the de Broglie-Bohm interpretation (Goldstein in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 2006) of quantum mechanics is further analyzed. In this theory a fundamental system is defined as a dual entity formed by bare matter and a methodological probabilistic classical Turing machine. The evolution of the system would be determined by three Darwinian informational regulating principles. Some progress in the derivation of the postulates of quantum mechanics from these regulating principles is reported. The entanglement in a bipartite system is preliminarily considered.

  12. Molecular Evolution of Puumala Hantavirus

    PubMed Central

    Sironen, Tarja; Vaheri, Antti; Plyusnin, Alexander

    2001-01-01

    Puumala virus (PUUV) is a negative-stranded RNA virus in the genus Hantavirus, family Bunyaviridae. In this study, detailed phylogenetic analysis was performed on 42 complete S segment sequences of PUUV originated from several European countries, Russia, and Japan, the largest set available thus far for hantaviruses. The results show that PUUV sequences form seven distinct and well-supported genetic lineages; within these lineages, geographical clustering of genetic variants is observed. The overall phylogeny of PUUV is star-like, suggesting an early split of genetic lineages. The individual PUUV lineages appear to be independent, with the only exception to this being the Finnish and the Russian lineages that are closely connected to each other. Two strains of PUUV-like virus from Japan form the most ancestral lineage diverging from PUUV. Recombination points within the S segment were searched for and evidence for intralineage recombination events was seen in the Finnish, Russian, Danish, and Belgian lineages of PUUV. Molecular clock analysis showed that PUUV is a stable virus, evolving slowly at a rate of 0.7 × 10−7 to 2.2 × 10−6 nt substitutions per site per year. PMID:11689661

  13. What makes Darwinian hydrology "Darwinian"? Asking a different kind of question about landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harman, C.; Troch, P. A.

    2014-02-01

    There have been repeated calls for a Darwinian approach to hydrologic science, or for a synthesis of Darwinian and Newtonian approaches, to deepen understanding of the hydrologic system in the larger landscape context, and so develop a better basis for predictions now and in an uncertain future. But what exactly makes a Darwinian approach to hydrology "Darwinian"? While there have now been a number of discussions of Darwinian approaches, many referencing Harte (2002), the term is potentially a source of confusion because its connections to Darwin remain allusive rather than explicit. Here we suggest that the Darwinian approach to hydrology follows the example of Charles Darwin by focusing attention on the patterns of variation in populations and seeking hypotheses that explain these patterns in terms of the mechanisms and conditions that determine their historical development. These hypotheses do not simply catalog patterns or predict them statistically - they connect the present structure with processes operating in the past. Nor are they explanations presented without independent evidence or critical analysis - Darwin's hypotheses about the mechanisms underlying present-day variation could be independently tested and validated. With a Darwinian framework in mind, it is easy to see that a great deal of hydrologic research has already been done that contributes to a Darwinian hydrology - whether deliberately or not. We discuss some practical and philosophical issues with this approach to hydrologic science: how are explanatory hypotheses generated? What constitutes a good hypothesis? How are hypotheses tested? "Historical" sciences - including paleohydrology - have long grappled with these questions, as must a Darwinian hydrologic science. We can draw on Darwin's own example for some answers, though there are ongoing debates about the philosophical nature of his methods and reasoning. Darwin used a range of methods of historical reasoning to develop explanatory

  14. Evolution of molecular phenotypes under stabilizing selection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nourmohammad, Armita; Schiffels, Stephan; Lässig, Michael

    2013-01-01

    Molecular phenotypes are important links between genomic information and organismic functions, fitness, and evolution. Complex phenotypes, which are also called quantitative traits, often depend on multiple genomic loci. Their evolution builds on genome evolution in a complicated way, which involves selection, genetic drift, mutations and recombination. Here we develop a coarse-grained evolutionary statistics for phenotypes, which decouples from details of the underlying genotypes. We derive approximate evolution equations for the distribution of phenotype values within and across populations. This dynamics covers evolutionary processes at high and low recombination rates, that is, it applies to sexual and asexual populations. In a fitness landscape with a single optimal phenotype value, the phenotypic diversity within populations and the divergence between populations reach evolutionary equilibria, which describe stabilizing selection. We compute the equilibrium distributions of both quantities analytically and we show that the ratio of mean divergence and diversity depends on the strength of selection in a universal way: it is largely independent of the phenotype’s genomic encoding and of the recombination rate. This establishes a new method for the inference of selection on molecular phenotypes beyond the genome level. We discuss the implications of our findings for the predictability of evolutionary processes.

  15. Sexual selection: Another Darwinian process.

    PubMed

    Gayon, Jean

    2010-02-01

    the Darwin-Wallace controversy was that most Darwinian biologists avoided the subject of sexual selection until at least the 1950s, Ronald Fisher being a major exception. This controversy still deserves attention from modern evolutionary biologists, because the modern approach inherits from both Darwin and Wallace. The modern approach tends to present sexual selection as a special aspect of the theory of natural selection, although it also recognizes the big difficulties resulting from the inevitable interaction between these two natural processes of selection. And contra Wallace, it considers mate choice as a major process that deserves a proper evolutionary treatment. The paper's conclusion explains why sexual selection can be taken as a test case for a proper assessment of "Darwinism" as a scientific tradition. Darwin's and Wallace's attitudes towards sexual selection reveal two different interpretations of the principle of natural selection: Wallace's had an environmentalist conception of natural selection, whereas Darwin was primarily sensitive to the element of competition involved in the intimate mechanism of any natural process of selection. Sexual selection, which can lack adaptive significance, reveals this exemplarily. PMID:20338530

  16. Origins of Genius: Darwinian Perspectives on Creativity.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Simonton, Dean Keith

    This study of creative genius argues that creativity can best be understood as a Darwinian process of variation and selection. The artist or scientist generates a wealth of ideas, and then subjects these ideas to aesthetic or scientific judgment, selecting only those that have the best chance to survive and reproduce. The book draws on the latest…

  17. The Nature of the Darwinian Revolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Mayr, Ernst

    1972-01-01

    Analysis of the writings of anti-evolutionists contemporary with Darwin reveals that there were many objections that had to be overcome and that the Darwinian revolution" does not conform to the simple model of a scientific revolution as outlined by T. S. Kuhn. (AL)

  18. Molecular evolution of prolactin in primates.

    PubMed

    Wallis, O Caryl; Mac-Kwashie, Akofa O; Makri, Georgia; Wallis, Michael

    2005-05-01

    Pituitary prolactin, like growth hormone (GH) and several other protein hormones, shows an episodic pattern of molecular evolution in which sustained bursts of rapid change contrast with long periods of slow evolution. A period of rapid change occurred in the evolution of prolactin in primates, leading to marked sequence differences between human prolactin and that of nonprimate mammals. We have defined this burst more precisely by sequencing the coding regions of prolactin genes for a prosimian, the slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus), and a New World monkey, the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Slow loris prolactin is very similar in sequence to pig prolactin, so the episode of rapid change occurred during primate evolution, after the separation of lines leading to prosimians and higher primates. Marmoset prolactin is similar in sequence to human prolactin, so the accelerated evolution occurred before divergence of New World monkeys and Old World monkeys/apes. The burst of change was confined largely to coding sequence (nonsynonymous sites) for mature prolactin and is not marked in other components of the gene sequence. This and the observations that (1) there was no apparent loss of function during the episode of rapid evolution, (2) the rate of evolution slowed toward the basal rate after this burst, and (3) the distribution of substitutions in the prolactin molecule is very uneven support the idea that this episode of rapid change was due to positive adaptive selection. In the slow loris and marmoset there is no evidence for duplication of the prolactin gene, and evidence from another New World monkey (Cebus albifrons) and from the chimpanzee and human genome sequences, suggests that this is the general position in primates, contrasting with the situation for GH genes. The chimpanzee prolactin sequence differs from that of human at two residues and comparison of human and chimpanzee prolactin gene sequences suggests that noncoding regions associated with regulating

  19. The Post-Darwinian Controversies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moore, James R.

    1981-11-01

    Preface; Introduction: the terrain of revision; Part I. Historians and Historiography: 1. Draper, White, and the military metaphor; 2. Politics, polemics, and the military milieu; 3. Warfare's toll in historical interpretation; 4. Towards a non-violent history; Part II. Darwinism and Evolutionary Thought: 5. Darwinism in transition; 6. The challenge of Lamarckian evolution; 7. The vogue of Herbert Spencer; 8. Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism; Part III. Theology and Evolution: 9. Christian anti-Darwinism: the realm of certainty and fixity; 10. Christian Darwinism: the role of providence and progress; 11. Christian Darwinism: the relevance of orthodox theology; 12. Darwinism and Darwinisticism in theology; Conclusion; Notes to the text; Bibliography; Index.

  20. Trends in substitution models of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Arenas, Miguel

    2015-01-01

    Substitution models of evolution describe the process of genetic variation through fixed mutations and constitute the basis of the evolutionary analysis at the molecular level. Almost 40 years after the development of first substitution models, highly sophisticated, and data-specific substitution models continue emerging with the aim of better mimicking real evolutionary processes. Here I describe current trends in substitution models of DNA, codon and amino acid sequence evolution, including advantages and pitfalls of the most popular models. The perspective concludes that despite the large number of currently available substitution models, further research is required for more realistic modeling, especially for DNA coding and amino acid data. Additionally, the development of more accurate complex models should be coupled with new implementations and improvements of methods and frameworks for substitution model selection and downstream evolutionary analysis. PMID:26579193

  1. Trends in substitution models of molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Arenas, Miguel

    2015-01-01

    Substitution models of evolution describe the process of genetic variation through fixed mutations and constitute the basis of the evolutionary analysis at the molecular level. Almost 40 years after the development of first substitution models, highly sophisticated, and data-specific substitution models continue emerging with the aim of better mimicking real evolutionary processes. Here I describe current trends in substitution models of DNA, codon and amino acid sequence evolution, including advantages and pitfalls of the most popular models. The perspective concludes that despite the large number of currently available substitution models, further research is required for more realistic modeling, especially for DNA coding and amino acid data. Additionally, the development of more accurate complex models should be coupled with new implementations and improvements of methods and frameworks for substitution model selection and downstream evolutionary analysis. PMID:26579193

  2. Making a Theist out of Darwin: Asa Gray's Post-Darwinian Natural Theology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Russell Hunter, T.

    2012-07-01

    In March of 1860 the eminent Harvard Botanist and orthodox Christian Asa Gray began promoting the Origin of Species in hopes of securing a fair examination of Darwin's evolutionary theory among theistic naturalists. To this end, Gray sought to demonstrate that Darwin had not written atheistically and that his theory of evolution by natural selection had not presented any new scientific or theological difficulties for traditional Christian belief. From his personal correspondence with the author of the Origin, Gray well knew that Darwin did not affirm God's "particular" design of nature but conceded to the possibility that evolution proceeded according to "designed laws." From this concession, Gray attempted to develop a post-Darwinian natural theology which encouraged theistic naturalists to view God's design of nature through the evolutionary process in a manner similar to the way in which they viewed God's Providential interaction with human history. Indeed, securing a fair reading of the Origin was not Gray's sole aim as a promoter of Darwinian ideas. In Darwin's theory of natural selection, Gray believed he had discovered the means by which a more robust natural theological conception of the living and evolving natural world could be developed. In this paper I outline Gray's efforts to produce and popularize a theistic interpretation of Darwinian theory in order to correct various misconceptions concerning Gray's natural theological views and their role in the Darwinian Revolution.

  3. Molecular evolution of hydrogen peroxide degrading enzymes.

    PubMed

    Zámocký, Marcel; Gasselhuber, Bernhard; Furtmüller, Paul G; Obinger, Christian

    2012-09-15

    For efficient removal of intra- and/or extracellular hydrogen peroxide by dismutation to harmless dioxygen and water (2H(2)O(2) → O(2) + 2H(2)O), nature designed three metalloenzyme families that differ in oligomeric organization, monomer architecture as well as active site geometry and catalytic residues. Here we report on the updated reconstruction of the molecular phylogeny of these three gene families. Ubiquitous typical (monofunctional) heme catalases are found in all domains of life showing a high structural conservation. Their evolution was directed from large subunit towards small subunit proteins and further to fused proteins where the catalase fold was retained but lost its original functionality. Bifunctional catalase-peroxidases were at the origin of one of the two main heme peroxidase superfamilies (i.e. peroxidase-catalase superfamily) and constitute a protein family predominantly present among eubacteria and archaea, but two evolutionary branches are also found in the eukaryotic world. Non-heme manganese catalases are a relatively small protein family with very old roots only present among bacteria and archaea. Phylogenetic analyses of the three protein families reveal features typical (i) for the evolution of whole genomes as well as (ii) for specific evolutionary events including horizontal gene transfer, paralog formation and gene fusion. As catalases have reached a striking diversity among prokaryotic and eukaryotic pathogens, understanding their phylogenetic and molecular relationship and function will contribute to drug design for prevention of diseases of humans, animals and plants. PMID:22330759

  4. Molecular epidemiology, phylogeny and evolution of Legionella.

    PubMed

    Khodr, A; Kay, E; Gomez-Valero, L; Ginevra, C; Doublet, P; Buchrieser, C; Jarraud, S

    2016-09-01

    Legionella are opportunistic pathogens that develop in aquatic environments where they multiply in protozoa. When infected aerosols reach the human respiratory tract they may accidentally infect the alveolar macrophages leading to a severe pneumonia called Legionnaires' disease (LD). The ability of Legionella to survive within host-cells is strictly dependent on the Dot/Icm Type 4 Secretion System that translocates a large repertoire of effectors into the host cell cytosol. Although Legionella is a large genus comprising nearly 60 species that are worldwide distributed, only about half of them have been involved in LD cases. Strikingly, the species Legionella pneumophila alone is responsible for 90% of all LD cases. The present review summarizes the molecular approaches that are used for L. pneumophila genotyping with a major focus on the contribution of whole genome sequencing (WGS) to the investigation of local L. pneumophila outbreaks and global epidemiology studies. We report the newest knowledge regarding the phylogeny and the evolution of Legionella and then focus on virulence evolution of those Legionella species that are known to have the capacity to infect humans. Finally, we discuss the evolutionary forces and adaptation mechanisms acting on the Dot/Icm system itself as well as the role of mobile genetic elements (MGE) encoding T4ASSs and of gene duplications in the evolution of Legionella and its adaptation to different hosts and lifestyles. PMID:27180896

  5. Integrating influenza antigenic dynamics with molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Bedford, Trevor; Suchard, Marc A; Lemey, Philippe; Dudas, Gytis; Gregory, Victoria; Hay, Alan J; McCauley, John W; Russell, Colin A; Smith, Derek J; Rambaut, Andrew

    2014-01-01

    Influenza viruses undergo continual antigenic evolution allowing mutant viruses to evade host immunity acquired to previous virus strains. Antigenic phenotype is often assessed through pairwise measurement of cross-reactivity between influenza strains using the hemagglutination inhibition (HI) assay. Here, we extend previous approaches to antigenic cartography, and simultaneously characterize antigenic and genetic evolution by modeling the diffusion of antigenic phenotype over a shared virus phylogeny. Using HI data from influenza lineages A/H3N2, A/H1N1, B/Victoria and B/Yamagata, we determine patterns of antigenic drift across viral lineages, showing that A/H3N2 evolves faster and in a more punctuated fashion than other influenza lineages. We also show that year-to-year antigenic drift appears to drive incidence patterns within each influenza lineage. This work makes possible substantial future advances in investigating the dynamics of influenza and other antigenically-variable pathogens by providing a model that intimately combines molecular and antigenic evolution. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01914.001 PMID:24497547

  6. Evolution - A Theory Evolving

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Weinberg, Janet H.

    1975-01-01

    Presented is an explanation of a non-Darwinian theory of evolution based on the premise that functional differences are the result of many small mutations such as the substitution of one amino acid for another in a large protein molecule. A brief overview of Darwinian evolution and other theories are presented. (EB)

  7. The chemical evolution of molecular clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Iglesias, E.

    1977-01-01

    The nonequilibrium chemistry of dense molecular clouds (10,000 to 1 million hydrogen molecules per cu cm) is studied in the framework of a model that includes the latest published chemical data and most of the recent theoretical advances. In this model the only important external source of ionization is assumed to be high-energy cosmic-ray bombardment; standard charge-transfer reactions are taken into account as well as reactions that transfer charge from molecular ions to trace-metal atoms. Schemes are proposed for the synthesis of such species as NCO, HNCO, and CN. The role played by adsorption and condensation of molecules on the surface of dust grains is investigated, and effects on the chemical evolution of a dense molecular cloud are considered which result from varying the total density or the elemental abundances and from assuming negligible or severe condensation of gaseous species on dust grains. It is shown that the chemical-equilibrium time scale is given approximately by the depletion times of oxygen and nitrogen when the condensation efficiency is negligible; that this time scale is probably in the range from 1 to 4 million years, depending on the elemental composition and initial conditions in the cloud; and that this time scale is insensitive to variations in the total density.

  8. Molecular epidemiology and evolution of fish Novirhabdoviruses

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kurath, Gael

    2014-01-01

    The genus Novirhabdoviridae contains several of the important rhabdoviruses that infect fish hosts. There are four established virus species: Infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus (IHNV), Viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV), Hirame rhabdovirus(HIRRV), and Snakehead rhabdovirus (SHRV). Viruses of these species vary in host and geographic range, and they have all been studied at the molecular and genomic level. As globally significant pathogens of cultured fish, IHNV and VHSV have been particularly well studied in terms of molecular epidemiology and evolution. Phylogenic analyses of hundreds of field isolates have defined five major genogroups of IHNV and four major genotypes of VHSV worldwide. These phylogenies are informed by the known histories of IHNV and VHSV, each involving a series of viral emergence events that are sometimes associated with host switches, most often into cultured rainbow trout. In general, IHNV has relatively low genetic diversity and a narrow host range, and has been spread from its endemic source in North American to Europe and Asia due to aquaculture activities. In contrast, VHSV has broad host range and high genetic diversity, and the source of emergence events is virus in widespread marine fish reservoirs in the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Common mechanisms of emergence and host switch events include use of raw feed, proximity to wild fish reservoirs of virus, and geographic translocations of virus or naive fish hosts associated with aquaculture.

  9. Becoming a Darwinian: the micro-politics of Sir Francis Galton's scientific career 1859-65.

    PubMed

    Waller, John C

    2004-04-01

    In 1865 Francis Galton (1822-1911) published 'Hereditary Talent and Character', an elaborate attempt to prove the heritability of intelligence on the basis of pedigree data. It was the start of Galton's lifelong commitment to investigating the statistical patterns and physiological mechanisms of hereditary transmission. Most existing attempts to explain Galton's fascination for heredity have argued that he was driven by a commitment to conservative political ideologies to seek means of naturalizing human inequality. However, this paper shows that another factor of at least equal importance has been overlooked by Galton scholars: his determination during the 1860s to be accepted among the ranks of the Darwinian inner circle. By hitching his career to the fortunes of what looked likely to emerge as a new scientific elite, Galton felt that he could bypass the typically slow and uncertain route to achieving scientific distinction. For this essentially strategic reason, between 1860 and 1865 he drifted away from a set of existing scientific concerns that were failing to deliver the approbation that he desired. Earnestly seeking to ingratiate himself with the Darwinian lobby, he then toyed with a variety of potential research projects relevant to Darwinian evolution. Yet Galton consistently failed to stimulate the enthusiasm of the Darwinians. Finally, however, after several months of ruminating, in 1864 he settled on a study of eminent pedigrees as a subject that was both germane and highly useful to the Darwinian enterprise. Galton's willingness to shift the direction of his scientific career during the 1860s underscores the importance of examining the micro-politics of scientific careers in addition to their broader social and political context. This account also emphasizes the limitations of class-based explanations even when considering scientists whose work seems so manifestly indicative of ideological motivation. PMID:15022666

  10. Darwinian natural selection: its enduring explanatory power.

    PubMed

    Dimijian, Gregory G

    2012-04-01

    Evolutionary theory has never had a stronger scientific foundation than it does today. In a short review I hope to portray the deep commitment of today's biologists to Darwinian natural selection and to discoveries made since Darwin's time. In spite of the scientific advances in the century and a half since the publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwin still remains the principal author of modern evolutionary theory. He is one of the greatest contributors of all time to our understanding of nature. PMID:22481845

  11. Darwinian natural selection: its enduring explanatory power

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Evolutionary theory has never had a stronger scientific foundation than it does today. In a short review I hope to portray the deep commitment of today's biologists to Darwinian natural selection and to discoveries made since Darwin's time. In spite of the scientific advances in the century and a half since the publication of On the Origin of Species, Darwin still remains the principal author of modern evolutionary theory. He is one of the greatest contributors of all time to our understanding of nature. PMID:22481845

  12. Molecular epidemiology and evolution of porcine parvoviruses.

    PubMed

    Streck, André Felipe; Canal, Cláudio Wageck; Truyen, Uwe

    2015-12-01

    Porcine parvovirus (PPV), recently named Ungulate protoparvovirus 1, is considered to be one of the most important causes of reproductive failure in swine. Fetal death, mummification, stillbirths and delayed return to estrus are predominant clinical signs commonly associated with PPV infection in a herd. It has recently been shown that certain parvoviruses exhibit a nucleotide substitution rate close to that commonly determined for RNA viruses. However, the PPV vaccines broadly used in the last 30 years have most likely reduced the genetic diversity of the virus and led to the predominance of strains with a capsid profile distinct from that of the original vaccine-based strains. Furthermore, a number of novel porcine parvovirus species with yet-unknown veterinary relevance and characteristics have been described during the last decade. In this review, an overview of PPV molecular evolution is presented, highlighting characteristics of the various genetic elements, their evolutionary rate and the discovery of new capsid profiles driven by the currently used vaccines. PMID:26453771

  13. High rates of molecular evolution in hantaviruses.

    PubMed

    Ramsden, Cadhla; Melo, Fernando L; Figueiredo, Luiz M; Holmes, Edward C; Zanotto, Paolo M A

    2008-07-01

    Hantaviruses are rodent-borne Bunyaviruses that infect the Arvicolinae, Murinae, and Sigmodontinae subfamilies of Muridae. The rate of molecular evolution in the hantaviruses has been previously estimated at approximately 10(-7) nucleotide substitutions per site, per year (substitutions/site/year), based on the assumption of codivergence and hence shared divergence times with their rodent hosts. If substantiated, this would make the hantaviruses among the slowest evolving of all RNA viruses. However, as hantaviruses replicate with an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, with error rates in the region of one mutation per genome replication, this low rate of nucleotide substitution is anomalous. Here, we use a Bayesian coalescent approach to estimate the rate of nucleotide substitution from serially sampled gene sequence data for hantaviruses known to infect each of the 3 rodent subfamilies: Araraquara virus (Sigmodontinae), Dobrava virus (Murinae), Puumala virus (Arvicolinae), and Tula virus (Arvicolinae). Our results reveal that hantaviruses exhibit short-term substitution rates of 10(-2) to 10(-4) substitutions/site/year and so are within the range exhibited by other RNA viruses. The disparity between this substitution rate and that estimated assuming rodent-hantavirus codivergence suggests that the codivergence hypothesis may need to be reevaluated. PMID:18417484

  14. Molecular pathogenesis of CLL and its evolution.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, David; Bretones, Gabriel; Arango, Javier R; Valdespino, Víctor; Campo, Elías; Quesada, Víctor; López-Otín, Carlos

    2015-03-01

    In spite of being the most prevalent adult leukemia in Western countries, the molecular mechanisms driving the establishment and progression of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) remain largely unknown. In recent years, the use of next-generation sequencing techniques has uncovered new and, in some cases, unexpected driver genes with prognostic and therapeutic value. The mutational landscape of CLL is characterized by high-genetic and epigenetic heterogeneity, low mutation recurrence and a long tail of cases with undefined driver genes. On the other hand, the use of deep sequencing has also revealed high intra-tumor heterogeneity and provided a detailed picture of clonal evolution processes. This phenomenon, in which aberrant DNA methylation can also participate, appears to be tightly associated to poor outcomes and chemo-refractoriness, thus providing a new subject for therapeutic intervention. Hence, and having in mind the limitations derived from the CLL complexity thus described, the application of massively parallel sequencing studies has unveiled a wealth of information that is expected to substantially improve patient staging schemes and CLL clinical management. PMID:25630433

  15. Introducing the fractional order robotic Darwinian PSO

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Couceiro, Micael S.; Martins, Fernando M. L.; Rocha, Rui P.; Ferreira, Nuno M. F.

    2012-11-01

    The Darwinian Particle Swarm Optimization (DPSO) is an evolutionary algorithm that extends the Particle Swarm Optimization using natural selection to enhance the ability to escape from sub-optimal solutions. An extension of the DPSO to multi-robot applications has been recently proposed and denoted as Robotic Darwinian PSO (RDPSO), benefiting from the dynamical partitioning of the whole population of robots, hence decreasing the amount of required information exchange among robots. This paper further extends the previously proposed algorithm using fractional calculus concepts to control the convergence rate, while considering the robot dynamical characteristics. Moreover, to improve the convergence analysis of the RDPSO, an adjustment of the fractional coefficient based on mobile robot constraints is presented and experimentally assessed with 2 real platforms. Afterwards, this novel fractional-order RDPSO is evaluated in 12 physical robots being further explored using a larger population of 100 simulated mobile robots within a larger scenario. Experimental results show that changing the fractional coefficient does not significantly improve the final solution but presents a significant influence in the convergence time because of its inherent memory property.

  16. Molecular musings in microbial ecology and evolution

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    A few major discoveries have influenced how ecologists and evolutionists study microbes. Here, in the format of an interview, we answer questions that directly relate to how these discoveries are perceived in these two branches of microbiology, and how they have impacted on both scientific thinking and methodology. The first question is "What has been the influence of the 'Universal Tree of Life' based on molecular markers?" For evolutionists, the tree was a tool to understand the past of known (cultured) organisms, mapping the invention of various physiologies on the evolutionary history of microbes. For ecologists the tree was a guide to discover the current diversity of unknown (uncultured) organisms, without much knowledge of their physiology. The second question we ask is "What was the impact of discovering frequent lateral gene transfer among microbes?" In evolutionary microbiology, frequent lateral gene transfer (LGT) made a simple description of relationships between organisms impossible, and for microbial ecologists, functions could not be easily linked to specific genotypes. Both fields initially resisted LGT, but methods or topics of inquiry were eventually changed in one to incorporate LGT in its theoretical models (evolution) and in the other to achieve its goals despite that phenomenon (ecology). The third and last question we ask is "What are the implications of the unexpected extent of diversity?" The variation in the extent of diversity between organisms invalidated the universality of species definitions based on molecular criteria, a major obstacle to the adaptation of models developed for the study of macroscopic eukaryotes to evolutionary microbiology. This issue has not overtly affected microbial ecology, as it had already abandoned species in favor of the more flexible operational taxonomic units. This field is nonetheless moving away from traditional methods to measure diversity, as they do not provide enough resolution to uncover what lies

  17. Darwinian optimization of synthetic neural systems

    SciTech Connect

    Dress, W.B.

    1987-01-01

    This paper suggests a synthesis of computer science and artificial intelligence with the resurgent ideas of artificial neural systems and genetic algorithms cast in a classical Darwinian mold. Just as Darwin's original theory avoided the need for teleological arguments, the thrust of the approach set forth here for synthetic systems avoids the problem of programmer omniscience and the resulting brittle programs for precisely the same reasons. The price to be paid is one of many long computations on, perhaps, many parallel processors. Hardware development leading to parallel networks of RISC processors should meet the near-term needs of evolutionary parameter determination and allow the ensuring synthetic systems to function in real-time for certain tasks. In the longer term, special-purpose devices will be needed.

  18. Elements for the Development of a Darwinian Scheme Leading to Quantum Mechanics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baladrón, Carlos

    2015-10-01

    A subquantum theory is examined in which a fundamental system has been characterized as the association of a particle with a continuous trajectory in real space and a classical probabilistic Turing machine defined on an informational space. The particle transfers information to the machine, and this steers the particle by means of self-interaction. In a certain sense, the associated Turing machine might be considered a generalization of the pilot wave function of Bohmian mechanics. The data processing capability entailed by the Turing machine makes the particle a generalized Darwinian system on which natural selection may operate. Darwinian evolution acting on the informational space should then drive the particle from random behaviour purportedly associated to an initial blank state to a possible evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS). Three regulating principles that plausibly encode an ESS are stated. The derivation of the postulates of quantum mechanics is discussed assuming that the behaviour of systems is governed by the three regulating principles. The theory also enables, within the generalized Darwinian framework, a natural characterization of entanglement through the local interaction between the Turing machines of the subsystems. Some possible future experimental and computational tests of the theory are outlined. The central aim of this scheme is to explore the possibility that generalized Darwinian natural selection might induce the emergence of quantum mechanics and its weird features from a real and local underlying description of particles supplemented with a Turing machine on an informational space, since those systems presenting quantum behaviour seem to be the most robust at a microscopic level.

  19. Automatic Evolution of Molecular Nanotechnology Designs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Globus, Al; Lawton, John; Wipke, Todd; Saini, Subhash (Technical Monitor)

    1998-01-01

    This paper describes strategies for automatically generating designs for analog circuits at the molecular level. Software maps out the edges and vertices of potential nanotechnology systems on graphs, then selects appropriate ones through evolutionary or genetic paradigms.

  20. Molecular clouds. [significance in stellar evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Thaddeus, P.

    1977-01-01

    An attempt is made to understand star formation in the context of the dense interstellar molecular gas from which stars are made. Attention is given to how molecular observations (e.g., UV spectroscopy and radio 21-cm and recombination line observations) provide data on the physical state of the dense interstellar gas; observations of H II regions, stellar associations, and dark nebulae are discussed. CO clouds are studied with reference to radial velocity, temperature, density, ionization, magnetic field.

  1. Molecular evolution in food allergy diagnosis.

    PubMed

    Barocci, Fiorella; DE Amici, Mara; Marseglia, Gian L

    2016-10-01

    Traditional allergological diagnostics often provide laboratory data that seem to correspond with similar positive results in different patients. However, with technological developments and the introduction of molecular diagnostics, it is possible to extract and highlight the differences in the serological laboratory data, to obtain detailed specificity on the various allergen components in different clinical settings. Allergological diagnostics prove to be increasingly useful in accurately distinguishing "cross-reactivity" and "cosensitization". This aspect is very important especially in patients who are, with a traditional diagnosis, polysensitized. Molecular diagnosis in allergology has expanded its range of applications thanks to the ability to IgE dose specific (in addition to classic total IgE serum) not only to allergens, food and inhalants, but also to the individual protein components which make up the allergenic source. It is essential to establish a correct diagnosis in order to determine the appropriate therapy. Therefore it is crucial to discern whether a patient is truly allergic because he presents specific IgE for molecules of a species or if the positivity is given from the structural homology between the different proteins. Molecular diagnostics emerges as a valuable tool for the discrimination of allergic patients and to differentiate between "true allergies" and "cross-reactivity". Molecular diagnostics should be used in a targeted manner for an accurate assessment and diagnosis, which would also reduce the use of oral challenges, to predict severe reactions and allergy persistence. PMID:26091488

  2. Molecular evolution of the vertebrate mechanosensory cell and ear

    PubMed Central

    Fritzsch, Bernd; Beisel, Kirk W.; Pauley, Sarah; Soukup, Garrett

    2014-01-01

    The molecular basis of mechanosensation, mechanosensory cell development and mechanosensory organ development is reviewed with an emphasis on its evolution. In contrast to eye evolution and development, which apparently modified a genetic program through intercalation of genes between the master control genes on the top (Pax6, Eya1, Six1) of the hierarchy and the structural genes (rhodopsin) at the bottom, the as yet molecularly unknown mechanosensory channel precludes such a firm conclusion for mechanosensors. However, recent years have seen the identification of several structural genes which are involved in mechanosensory tethering and several transcription factors controlling mechanosensory cell and organ development; these warrant the interpretation of available data in very much the same fashion as for eye evolution: molecular homology combined with potential morphological parallelism. This assertion of molecular homology is strongly supported by recent findings of a highly conserved set of microRNAs that appear to be associated with mechanosensory cell development across phyla. The conservation of transcription factors and their regulators fits very well to the known or presumed mechanosensory specializations which can be mostly grouped as variations of a common cellular theme. Given the widespread distribution of the molecular ability to form mechanosensory cells, it comes as no surprise that structurally different mechanosensory organs evolved in different phyla, presenting a variation of a common theme specified by a conserved set of transcription factors in their cellular development. Within vertebrates and arthropods, some mechanosensory organs evolved into auditory organs, greatly increasing sensitivity to sound through modifications of accessory structures to direct sound to the specific sensory epithelia. However, while great attention has been paid to the evolution of these accessory structures in vertebrate fossils, comparatively less attention has

  3. Slow rate of molecular evolution in high-elevation hummingbirds.

    PubMed

    Bleiweiss, R

    1998-01-20

    Estimates of relative rates of molecular evolution from a DNA-hybridization phylogeny for 26 hummingbird species provide evidence for a negative association between elevation and rate of single-copy genome evolution. This effect of elevation on rate remains significant even after taking into account a significant negative association between body mass and molecular rate. Population-level processes do not appear to account for these patterns because (i) all hummingbirds breed within their first year and (ii) the more extensive subdivision and speciation of bird populations living at high elevations predicts a positive association between elevation and rate. The negative association between body mass and molecular rate in other organisms has been attributed to higher mutation rates in forms with higher oxidative metabolism. As ambient oxygen tensions and temperature decrease with elevation, the slow rate of molecular evolution in high-elevation hummingbirds also may have a metabolic basis. A slower rate of single-copy DNA change at higher elevations suggests that the dynamics of molecular evolution cannot be separated from the environmental context. PMID:9435240

  4. A half-century after the molecular clock: new dimensions of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Koonin, Eugene V

    2012-08-01

    The EMBO workshop on 'Evolution in the Time of Genomics' took place in May 2012 in the magnificent sixteenth century Palazzo Franchetti near Ponte dell'Accademia in Venice. The meeting focused on phenomena that are not part of the traditional narrative of molecular evolution and which might signal a paradigm shift in the field. PMID:22791022

  5. The Darwinian revolution: Rethinking its meaning and significance

    PubMed Central

    Ruse, Michael

    2009-01-01

    The Darwinian revolution is generally taken to be one of the key events in the history of Western science. In recent years, however, the very notion of a scientific revolution has come under attack, and in the specific case of Charles Darwin and his Origin of Species there are serious questions about the nature of the change (if there was such) and the specifically Darwinian input. This article considers these issues by addressing these questions: Was there a Darwinian revolution? That is, was there a revolution at all? Was there a Darwinian revolution? That is, what was the specific contribution of Charles Darwin? Was there a Darwinian revolution? That is, what was the conceptual nature of what occurred on and around the publication of the Origin? I argue that there was a major change, both scientifically and in a broader metaphysical sense; that Charles Darwin was the major player in the change, although one must qualify the nature and the extent of the change, looking particularly at things in a broader historical context than just as an immediate event; and that the revolution was complex and we need the insights of rather different philosophies of scientific change to capture the whole phenomenon. In some respects, indeed, the process of analysis is still ongoing and unresolved. PMID:19528652

  6. Molecular evolution of GPCRs: Ghrelin/ghrelin receptors.

    PubMed

    Kaiya, Hiroyuki; Kangawa, Kenji; Miyazato, Mikiya

    2014-06-01

    After the discovery in 1996 of the GH secretagogue-receptor type-1a (GHS-R1a) as an orphan G-protein coupled receptor, many research groups attempted to identify the endogenous ligand. Finally, Kojima and colleagues successfully isolated the peptide ligand from rat stomach extracts, determined its structure, and named it ghrelin. The GHS-R1a is now accepted to be the ghrelin receptor. The existence of the ghrelin system has been demonstrated in many animal classes through biochemical and molecular biological strategies as well as through genome projects. Our work, focused on identifying the ghrelin receptor and its ligand ghrelin in laboratory animals, particularly nonmammalian vertebrates, has provided new insights into the molecular evolution of the ghrelin receptor. In mammals, it is assumed that the ghrelin receptor evolution is in line with the plate tectonics theory. In contrast, the evolution of the ghrelin receptor in nonmammalian vertebrates differs from that of mammals: multiplicity of the ghrelin receptor isoforms is observed in nonmammalian vertebrates only. This multiplicity is due to genome duplication and polyploidization events that particularly occurred in Teleostei. Furthermore, it is likely that the evolution of the ghrelin receptor is distinct from that of its ligand, ghrelin, because only one ghrelin isoform has been detected in all species examined so far. In this review, we summarize current knowledge related to the molecular evolution of the ghrelin receptor in mammalian and nonmammalian vertebrates. PMID:24353285

  7. The Jukes-Cantor Model of Molecular Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Erickson, Keith

    2010-01-01

    The material in this module introduces students to some of the mathematical tools used to examine molecular evolution. This topic is standard fare in many mathematical biology or bioinformatics classes, but could also be suitable for classes in linear algebra or probability. While coursework in matrix algebra, Markov processes, Monte Carlo…

  8. Molecular clocks and the early evolution of metazoan nervous systems.

    PubMed

    Wray, Gregory A

    2015-12-19

    The timing of early animal evolution remains poorly resolved, yet remains critical for understanding nervous system evolution. Methods for estimating divergence times from sequence data have improved considerably, providing a more refined understanding of key divergences. The best molecular estimates point to the origin of metazoans and bilaterians tens to hundreds of millions of years earlier than their first appearances in the fossil record. Both the molecular and fossil records are compatible, however, with the possibility of tiny, unskeletonized, low energy budget animals during the Proterozoic that had planktonic, benthic, or meiofaunal lifestyles. Such animals would likely have had relatively simple nervous systems equipped primarily to detect food, avoid inhospitable environments and locate mates. The appearance of the first macropredators during the Cambrian would have changed the selective landscape dramatically, likely driving the evolution of complex sense organs, sophisticated sensory processing systems, and diverse effector systems involved in capturing prey and avoiding predation. PMID:26554040

  9. Witnessing Phenotypic and Molecular Evolution in the Fruit Fly.

    PubMed

    Heil, Caiti S S; Hunter, Mika J; Noor, Juliet Kf; Miglia, Kathleen; Manzano-Winkler, Brenda; McDermott, Shannon R; Noor, Mohamed Af

    2012-12-01

    This multi-day exercise is designed for a college Genetics and Evolution laboratory to demonstrate concepts of inheritance and phenotypic and molecular evolution using a live model organism, Drosophila simulans. Students set up an experimental fruit fly population consisting of ten white eyed flies and one red eyed fly. Having red eyes is advantageous compared to having white eyes, allowing students to track the spread of this advantageous trait over several generations. Ultimately, the students perform PCR and gel electrophoresis at two neutral markers, one located in close proximity to the eye-color locus, and one located at the other end of the chromosome. Students observe that most flies have red eyes, and these red-eyed flies have lost variation at the near marker, but maintained variation at the far marker, hence observing a "selective sweep" and the "hitchhiking" of a nearby neutral variant. Students literally observe phenotypic and molecular evolution in their classroom! PMID:23459154

  10. The Molecular Evolution of the Qo Motif

    PubMed Central

    Kao, Wei-Chun; Hunte, Carola

    2014-01-01

    Quinol oxidation in the catalytic quinol oxidation site (Qo site) of cytochrome (cyt) bc1 complexes is the key step of the Q cycle mechanism, which laid the ground for Mitchell’s chemiosmotic theory of energy conversion. Bifurcated electron transfer upon quinol oxidation enables proton uptake and release on opposite membrane sides, thus generating a proton gradient that fuels ATP synthesis in cellular respiration and photosynthesis. The Qo site architecture formed by cyt b and Rieske iron–sulfur protein (ISP) impedes harmful bypass reactions. Catalytic importance is assigned to four residues of cyt b formerly described as PEWY motif in the context of mitochondrial complexes, which we now denominate Qo motif as comprehensive evolutionary sequence analysis of cyt b shows substantial natural variance of the motif with phylogenetically specific patterns. In particular, the Qo motif is identified as PEWY in mitochondria, α- and ε-Proteobacteria, Aquificae, Chlorobi, Cyanobacteria, and chloroplasts. PDWY is present in Gram-positive bacteria, Deinococcus–Thermus and haloarchaea, and PVWY in β- and γ-Proteobacteria. PPWF only exists in Archaea. Distinct patterns for acidophilic organisms indicate environment-specific adaptations. Importantly, the presence of PDWY and PEWY is correlated with the redox potential of Rieske ISP and quinone species. We propose that during evolution from low to high potential electron-transfer systems in the emerging oxygenic atmosphere, cyt bc1 complexes with PEWY as Qo motif prevailed to efficiently use high potential ubiquinone as substrate, whereas cyt b with PDWY operate best with low potential Rieske ISP and menaquinone, with the latter being the likely composition of the ancestral cyt bc1 complex. PMID:25115012

  11. The speciation of conger eel galectins by rapid adaptive evolution.

    PubMed

    Ogawa, Tomohisa; Shirai, Tsuyoshi; Shionyu-Mitsuyama, Clara; Yamane, Takashi; Kamiya, Hisao; Muramoto, Koji

    2004-01-01

    Many cases of accelerated evolution driven by positive Darwinian selection are identified in the genes of venomous and reproductive proteins. This evolutional phenomenon might have important consequences in their gene-products' functions, such as multiple specific toxins for quick immobilization of the prey and the establishment of barriers to fertilization that might lead to speciation, and in the molecular evolution of novel genes. Recently, we analyzed the molecular evolution of two galectins isolated from the skin mucus of conger eel (Conger myriaster), named congerins I and II, by cDNA cloning and X-ray structural analysis, and we found that they have evolved in the rapid adaptive manner to emergence of a new structure including strand-swapping and a unique new ligand-binding site. In this review article we summarize and discuss the molecular evolution, especially the rapid adaptive evolution, and the structure-function relationships of conger eel galectins. PMID:14758068

  12. Giant Molecular Cloud Structure and Evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Hollenbach, David (Technical Monitor); Bodenheimer, P. H.

    2003-01-01

    Bodenheimer and Burkert extended earlier calculations of cloud core models to study collapse and fragmentation. The initial condition for an SPH collapse calculation is the density distribution of a Bonnor-Ebert sphere, with near balance between turbulent plus thermal energy and gravitational energy. The main parameter is the turbulent Mach number. For each Mach number several runs are made, each with a different random realization of the initial turbulent velocity field. The turbulence decays on a dynamical time scale, leading the cloud into collapse. The collapse proceeds isothermally until the density has increased to about 10(exp 13) g cm(exp -3). Then heating is included in the dense regions. The nature of the fragmentation is investigated. About 15 different runs have been performed with Mach numbers ranging from 0.3 to 3.5 (the typical value observed in molecular cloud cores is 0.7). The results show a definite trend of increasing multiplicity with increasing Mach number (M), with the number of fragments approximately proportional to (1 + M). In general, this result agrees with that of Fisher, Klein, and McKee who published three cases with an AMR grid code. However our results show that there is a large spread about this curve. For example, for M=0.3 one case resulted in no fragmentation while a second produced three fragments. Thus it is not only the value of M but also the details of the superposition of the various velocity modes that play a critical role in the formation of binaries. Also, the simulations produce a wide range of separations (10-1000 AU) for the multiple systems, in rough agreement with observations. These results are discussed in two conference proceedings.

  13. Molecular evolution of nitrate reductase genes.

    PubMed

    Zhou, J; Kleinhofs, A

    1996-04-01

    To understand the evolutionary mechanisms and relationships of nitrate reductases (NRs), the nucleotide sequences encoding 19 nitrate reductase (NR) genes from 16 species of fungi, algae, and higher plants were analyzed. The NR genes examined show substantial sequence similarity, particularly within functional domains, and large variations in GC content at the third codon position and intron number. The intron positions were different between the fungi and plants, but conserved within these groups. The overall and nonsynonymous substitution rates among fungi, algae, and higher plants were estimated to be 4.33 x 10(-10) and 3.29 x 10(-10) substitutions per site per year. The three functional domains of NR genes evolved at about one-third of the rate of the N-terminal and the two hinge regions connecting the functional domains. Relative rate tests suggested that the nonsynonymous substitution rates were constant among different lineages, while the overall nucleotide substitution rates varied between some lineages. The phylogenetic trees based on NR genes correspond well with the phylogeny of the organisms determined from systematics and other molecular studies. Based on the nonsynonymous substitution rate, the divergence time of monocots and dicots was estimated to be about 340 Myr when the fungi-plant or algae-higher plant divergence times were used as reference points and 191 Myr when the rice-barley divergence time was used as a reference point. These two estimates are consistent with other estimates of divergence times based on these reference points. The lack of consistency between these two values appears to be due to the uncertainty of the reference times. PMID:8642612

  14. HIV-1 evolution: frustrating therapies, but disclosing molecular mechanisms

    PubMed Central

    Das, Atze T.; Berkhout, Ben

    2010-01-01

    Replication of HIV-1 under selective pressure frequently results in the evolution of virus variants that replicate more efficiently under the applied conditions. For example, in patients on antiretroviral therapy, such evolution can result in variants that are resistant to the HIV-1 inhibitors, thus frustrating the therapy. On the other hand, virus evolution can help us to understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie HIV-1 replication. For example, evolution of a defective virus mutant can result in variants that overcome the introduced defect by restoration of the original sequence or by the introduction of additional mutations in the viral genome. Analysis of the evolution pathway can reveal the requirements of the element under study and help to understand its function. Analysis of the escape routes may generate new insight in the viral life cycle and result in the identification of unexpected biological mechanisms. We have developed in vitro HIV-1 evolution into a systematic research tool that allows the study of different aspects of the viral replication cycle. We will briefly review this method of forced virus evolution and provide several examples that illustrate the power of this approach. PMID:20478891

  15. Social parasitism and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution.

    PubMed

    Cini, Alessandro; Patalano, Solenn; Segonds-Pichon, Anne; Busby, George B J; Cervo, Rita; Sumner, Seirian

    2015-01-01

    Contrasting phenotypes arise from similar genomes through a combination of losses, gains, co-option and modifications of inherited genomic material. Understanding the molecular basis of this phenotypic diversity is a fundamental challenge in modern evolutionary biology. Comparisons of the genes and their expression patterns underlying traits in closely related species offer an unrivaled opportunity to evaluate the extent to which genomic material is reorganized to produce novel traits. Advances in molecular methods now allow us to dissect the molecular machinery underlying phenotypic diversity in almost any organism, from single-celled entities to the most complex vertebrates. Here we discuss how comparisons of social parasites and their free-living hosts may provide unique insights into the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution. Social parasites evolve from a eusocial ancestor and are specialized to exploit the socially acquired resources of their closely-related eusocial host. Molecular comparisons of such species pairs can reveal how genomic material is re-organized in the loss of ancestral traits (i.e., of free-living traits in the parasites) and the gain of new ones (i.e., specialist traits required for a parasitic lifestyle). We define hypotheses on the molecular basis of phenotypes in the evolution of social parasitism and discuss their wider application in our understanding of the molecular basis of phenotypic diversity within the theoretical framework of phenotypic plasticity and shifting reaction norms. Currently there are no data available to test these hypotheses, and so we also provide some proof of concept data using the paper wasp social parasite/host system (Polistes sulcifer-Polistes dominula). This conceptual framework and first empirical data provide a spring-board for directing future genomic analyses on exploiting social parasites as a route to understanding the evolution of phenotypic specialization. PMID:25741361

  16. Social parasitism and the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution

    PubMed Central

    Cini, Alessandro; Patalano, Solenn; Segonds-Pichon, Anne; Busby, George B. J.; Cervo, Rita; Sumner, Seirian

    2015-01-01

    Contrasting phenotypes arise from similar genomes through a combination of losses, gains, co-option and modifications of inherited genomic material. Understanding the molecular basis of this phenotypic diversity is a fundamental challenge in modern evolutionary biology. Comparisons of the genes and their expression patterns underlying traits in closely related species offer an unrivaled opportunity to evaluate the extent to which genomic material is reorganized to produce novel traits. Advances in molecular methods now allow us to dissect the molecular machinery underlying phenotypic diversity in almost any organism, from single-celled entities to the most complex vertebrates. Here we discuss how comparisons of social parasites and their free-living hosts may provide unique insights into the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution. Social parasites evolve from a eusocial ancestor and are specialized to exploit the socially acquired resources of their closely-related eusocial host. Molecular comparisons of such species pairs can reveal how genomic material is re-organized in the loss of ancestral traits (i.e., of free-living traits in the parasites) and the gain of new ones (i.e., specialist traits required for a parasitic lifestyle). We define hypotheses on the molecular basis of phenotypes in the evolution of social parasitism and discuss their wider application in our understanding of the molecular basis of phenotypic diversity within the theoretical framework of phenotypic plasticity and shifting reaction norms. Currently there are no data available to test these hypotheses, and so we also provide some proof of concept data using the paper wasp social parasite/host system (Polistes sulcifer—Polistes dominula). This conceptual framework and first empirical data provide a spring-board for directing future genomic analyses on exploiting social parasites as a route to understanding the evolution of phenotypic specialization. PMID:25741361

  17. Widespread convergence in toxin resistance by predictable molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Ujvari, Beata; Casewell, Nicholas R.; Sunagar, Kartik; Arbuckle, Kevin; Wüster, Wolfgang; Lo, Nathan; O’Meally, Denis; Beckmann, Christa; King, Glenn F.; Deplazes, Evelyne; Madsen, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    The question about whether evolution is unpredictable and stochastic or intermittently constrained along predictable pathways is the subject of a fundamental debate in biology, in which understanding convergent evolution plays a central role. At the molecular level, documented examples of convergence are rare and limited to occurring within specific taxonomic groups. Here we provide evidence of constrained convergent molecular evolution across the metazoan tree of life. We show that resistance to toxic cardiac glycosides produced by plants and bufonid toads is mediated by similar molecular changes to the sodium-potassium-pump (Na+/K+-ATPase) in insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. In toad-feeding reptiles, resistance is conferred by two point mutations that have evolved convergently on four occasions, whereas evidence of a molecular reversal back to the susceptible state in varanid lizards migrating to toad-free areas suggests that toxin resistance is maladaptive in the absence of selection. Importantly, resistance in all taxa is mediated by replacements of 2 of the 12 amino acids comprising the Na+/K+-ATPase H1–H2 extracellular domain that constitutes a core part of the cardiac glycoside binding site. We provide mechanistic insight into the basis of resistance by showing that these alterations perturb the interaction between the cardiac glycoside bufalin and the Na+/K+-ATPase. Thus, similar selection pressures have resulted in convergent evolution of the same molecular solution across the breadth of the animal kingdom, demonstrating how a scarcity of possible solutions to a selective challenge can lead to highly predictable evolutionary responses. PMID:26372961

  18. [The genotyping and molecular evolution of varicella-zoster virus].

    PubMed

    Jiang, Long-Feng; Gan, Lin; Chen, Jing-Xian; Wang, Ming-Li

    2012-09-01

    Varicella-zoster virus (VZV, Human herpesvirus 3) is a member of the family Herpesviridae, and is classified as alpha-subfamily along with HSV-1 and HSV-2. VZV is the causative agent of chicken pox (varicella) mostly in children, after which it establishes latency in the sensory ganglia with the potential to reactivate at a later time to cause shingles (zoster). Increasing molecular epidemiological studies in recent years have been performed to monitor the mutations in VZV genome, discriminate vaccine virus from wild type virus, study the phylogeny of VZV strains throughout the world, and understand the evolution of the different clades of VZV. The progress has great impact on the fields of epidemiology, virology and bioinformatics. In this review, the currently available data concerning the geographic distribution and molecular evolution of VZV clades are discussed. PMID:23233938

  19. [The molecular evolution of rice stress-related genes].

    PubMed

    Song, Xiaojun; Xie, Kaibin; Zhang, Yanping; Jin, Ping

    2014-10-01

    In the processes of evolution, plants have formed a perfect regulation system to tolerate adverse environmental conditions. However, there has not been any report about the molecular evolution of rice stress-related genes. We derived a family of 22 stress-related genes in rice from Plant Stress Gene Database, and analyzed it by bioinformatics and comparative genome method. The results showed that these genes are relatively conservative in low organisms, and their copy numbers increase along with the environmental changes and the evolution. We also found four conserved sequence motifs and three other specific motifs. We propose that these motifs are closely associated with the function of rice stress-related genes. The analysis of selection pressure showed that about 50% rice stress-related genes have positive selection sites, although they were subject to a strong purifying selection. Positive selection sites might be very significant for plants to adapt to environmental changes. PMID:25406251

  20. Reconstructing phylogenies and phenotypes: a molecular view of human evolution.

    PubMed

    Bradley, Brenda J

    2008-04-01

    This review broadly summarizes how molecular biology has contributed to our understanding of human evolution. Molecular anthropology began in the 1960s with immunological comparisons indicating that African apes and humans were closely related and, indeed, shared a common ancestor as recently as 5 million years ago. Although initially dismissed, this finding has proven robust and numerous lines of molecular evidence now firmly place the human-ape divergence at 4-8 Ma. Resolving the trichotomy among humans, chimpanzees and gorillas took a few more decades. Despite the readily apparent physical similarities shared by African apes to the exclusion of modern humans (body hair, knuckle-walking, thin tooth enamel), the molecular support for a human-chimpanzee clade is now overwhelming. More recently, whole genome sequencing and gene mapping have shifted the focus of molecular anthropology from phylogenetic analyses to phenotypic reconstruction and functional genomics. We are starting to identify the genetic basis of the morphological, physiological and behavioural traits that distinguish modern humans from apes and apes from other primates. Most notably, recent comparative genomic analyses strongly indicate that the marked differences between modern humans and chimpanzees are likely due more to changes in gene regulation than to modifications of the genes themselves, an idea first proposed over 30 years ago. Almost weekly, press releases describe newly identified genes and regulatory elements that seem to have undergone strong positive selection along the human lineage. Loci involved in speech (e.g. FOXP2), brain development (e.g. ASPM), and skull musculature (e.g. MYH16) have been of particular interest, but some surprising candidate loci (e.g. those involved in auditory capabilities) have emerged as well. Exciting new research avenues, such as the Neanderthal Genome Project, promise that molecular analyses will continue to provide novel insights about our evolution

  1. Flight loss linked to faster molecular evolution in insects

    PubMed Central

    Mitterboeck, T. Fatima; Adamowicz, Sarah J.

    2013-01-01

    The loss of flight ability has occurred thousands of times independently during insect evolution. Flight loss may be linked to higher molecular evolutionary rates because of reductions in effective population sizes (Ne) and relaxed selective constraints. Reduced dispersal ability increases population subdivision, may decrease geographical range size and increases (sub)population extinction risk, thus leading to an expected reduction in Ne. Additionally, flight loss in birds has been linked to higher molecular rates of energy-related genes, probably owing to relaxed selective constraints on energy metabolism. We tested for an association between insect flight loss and molecular rates through comparative analysis in 49 phylogenetically independent transitions spanning multiple taxa, including moths, flies, beetles, mayflies, stick insects, stoneflies, scorpionflies and caddisflies, using available nuclear and mitochondrial protein-coding DNA sequences. We estimated the rate of molecular evolution of flightless (FL) and related flight-capable lineages by ratios of non-synonymous-to-synonymous substitutions (dN/dS) and overall substitution rates (OSRs). Across multiple instances of flight loss, we show a significant pattern of higher dN/dS ratios and OSRs in FL lineages in mitochondrial but not nuclear genes. These patterns may be explained by relaxed selective constraints in FL ectotherms relating to energy metabolism, possibly in combination with reduced Ne. PMID:23884090

  2. A good Darwinian? Winwood Reade and the making of a late Victorian evolutionary epic.

    PubMed

    Hesketh, Ian

    2015-06-01

    In 1871 the travel writer and anthropologist W. Winwood Reade (1838-1875) was inspired by his correspondence with Darwin to turn his narrow ethnological research on West African tribes into the broadest history imaginable, one that would show Darwin's great principle of natural selection at work throughout the evolutionary history of humanity, stretching back to the origins of the universe itself. But when Martyrdom of Man was published in 1872, Reade confessed that Darwin would not likely find him a very good Darwinian, as he was unable to show that natural selection was anything more than a secondary law that arranges all details. When it came to historicising humans within the sweeping history of all creation, Reade argued that the primary law was that of development, a less contentious theory of human evolution that was better suited to Reade's progressive and teleological history of life. By focussing on the extensive correspondence between Reade and Darwin, this paper reconstructs the attempt to make an explicitly Darwinian evolutionary epic in order to shed light on the moral and aesthetic demands that worked to give shape to Victorian efforts to historicise humans within a vastly expanding timeframe. PMID:25716223

  3. Molecular evolution of the lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferase (LPAAT) gene family.

    PubMed

    Körbes, Ana Paula; Kulcheski, Franceli Rodrigues; Margis, Rogério; Margis-Pinheiro, Márcia; Turchetto-Zolet, Andreia Carina

    2016-03-01

    Lysophosphatidic acid acyltransferases (LPAATs) perform an essential cellular function by controlling the production of phosphatidic acid (PA), a key intermediate in the synthesis of membrane, signaling and storage lipids. Although LPAATs have been extensively explored by functional and biotechnological studies, little is known about their molecular evolution and diversification. We performed a genome-wide analysis using data from several plants and animals, as well as other eukaryotic and prokaryotic species, to identify LPAAT genes and analyze their evolutionary history. We used phylogenetic and molecular evolution analysis to test the hypothesis of distinct origins for these genes. The reconstructed phylogeny supported the ancient origin of some isoforms (plant LPAAT1 and LPAATB; animal AGPAAT1/2), while others emerged more recently (plant LPAAT2/3/4/5; AGPAAT3/4/5/8). Additionally, the hypothesis of endosymbiotic origin of the plastidic isoform LPAAT1 was confirmed. LPAAT genes from plants and animals mainly experienced strong purifying selection pressures with limited functional divergence after the species-specific duplications. Gene expression analyses of LPAAT isoforms in model plants demonstrated distinct LPAAT expression patterns in these organisms. The results showed that distinct origins followed by diversification of the LPAAT genes shaped the evolution of TAG biosynthesis. The expression pattern of individual genes may be responsible for adaptation into multiple ecological niches. PMID:26721558

  4. Molecular evolution of haemagglutinin (H) gene in measles virus.

    PubMed

    Kimura, Hirokazu; Saitoh, Mika; Kobayashi, Miho; Ishii, Haruyuki; Saraya, Takeshi; Kurai, Daisuke; Tsukagoshi, Hiroyuki; Shirabe, Komei; Nishina, Atsuyoshi; Kozawa, Kunihisa; Kuroda, Makoto; Takeuchi, Fumihiko; Sekizuka, Tsuyoshi; Minakami, Hisanori; Ryo, Akihide; Takeda, Makoto

    2015-01-01

    We studied the molecular evolution of the haemagglutinin (H) gene (full length) in all genotypes (24 genotypes, 297 strains) of measles virus (MeV). The gene's evolutionary timescale was estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. We also analysed positive selection sites. The MCMC tree indicated that the MeV H gene diverged from the rinderpest virus (same genus) about 250 years ago and that 24 MeV genotypes formed 3 lineages dating back to a 1915 ancestor (95% highest posterior density [HPD] 1882-1941) with relatively rapid evolution (mean rate: 9.02 × 10(-4) substitutions/site/year). The 3 lineages diverged in 1915 (lineage 1, 95% HPD 1882-1941), 1954 (lineage 2, 95% HPD 1937-1969), and 1940 (lineage 3, 95% HPD 1927-1952). These 24 genotypes may have diverged and emerged between the 1940s and 1990 s. Selective pressure analysis identified many negative selection sites on the H protein but only a few positive selection sites, suggesting strongly operated structural and/or functional constraint of changes on the H protein. Based on the molecular evolution of H gene, an ancestor MeV of the 24 genotypes emerged about 100 years ago and the structure of H protein has been well conserved. PMID:26130388

  5. Molecular hyperdiversity and evolution in very large populations

    PubMed Central

    Cutter, Asher D.; Jovelin, Richard; Dey, Alivia

    2014-01-01

    The genomic density of sequence polymorphisms critically affects the sensitivity of inferences about ongoing sequence evolution, function, and demographic history. Most animal and plant genomes have relatively low densities of polymorphisms, but some species are hyperdiverse with neutral nucleotide heterozygosity exceeding 5%. Eukaryotes with extremely large populations, mimicking bacterial and viral populations, present novel opportunities for studying molecular evolution in sexually-reproducing taxa with complex development. In particular, hyperdiverse species can help answer controversial questions about the evolution of genome complexity, the limits of natural selection, modes of adaptation, and subtleties of the mutation process. However, such systems have some inherent complications and here we identify topics in need of theoretical developments. Close relatives of the model organisms Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster provide known examples of hyperdiverse eukaryotes, encouraging functional dissection of resulting molecular evolutionary patterns. We recommend how best to exploit hyperdiverse populations for analysis, for example, in quantifying the impact of non-crossover recombination in genomes and for determining the identity and micro-evolutionary selective pressures on non-coding regulatory elements. PMID:23506466

  6. Molecular evolution of WDR62, a gene that regulates neocorticogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Pervaiz, Nashaiman; Abbasi, Amir Ali

    2016-01-01

    Human brain evolution is characterized by dramatic expansion in cerebral cortex size. WDR62 (WD repeat domain 62) is one of the important gene in controlling human cortical development. Mutations in WDR62 lead to primary microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disease characterized by three to four fold reduction in cerebral cortex size of affected individuals. This study analyzes comparative protein evolutionary rate to provide a useful insight into the molecular evolution of WDR62 and hence pinpointed human specific amino acid replacements. Comparative analysis of human WDR62 with two archaic humans (Neanderthals and Denisovans) and modern human populations revealed that five hominin specific amino acid residues (human specific amino acids shared with two archaic humans) might have been accumulated in the common ancestor of extinct archaic humans and modern humans about 550,000–765,000 years ago. Collectively, the data demonstrates an acceleration of WDR62 sequence evolution in hominin lineage and suggests that the ability of WDR62 protein to mediate the neurogenesis has been altered in the course of hominin evolution. PMID:27114917

  7. Molecular evolution of WDR62, a gene that regulates neocorticogenesis.

    PubMed

    Pervaiz, Nashaiman; Abbasi, Amir Ali

    2016-09-01

    Human brain evolution is characterized by dramatic expansion in cerebral cortex size. WDR62 (WD repeat domain 62) is one of the important gene in controlling human cortical development. Mutations in WDR62 lead to primary microcephaly, a neurodevelopmental disease characterized by three to four fold reduction in cerebral cortex size of affected individuals. This study analyzes comparative protein evolutionary rate to provide a useful insight into the molecular evolution of WDR62 and hence pinpointed human specific amino acid replacements. Comparative analysis of human WDR62 with two archaic humans (Neanderthals and Denisovans) and modern human populations revealed that five hominin specific amino acid residues (human specific amino acids shared with two archaic humans) might have been accumulated in the common ancestor of extinct archaic humans and modern humans about 550,000-765,000 years ago. Collectively, the data demonstrates an acceleration of WDR62 sequence evolution in hominin lineage and suggests that the ability of WDR62 protein to mediate the neurogenesis has been altered in the course of hominin evolution. PMID:27114917

  8. Evolution for Young Victorians

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lightman, Bernard

    2012-07-01

    Evolution was a difficult topic to tackle when writing books for the young in the wake of the controversies over Darwin's Origin of Species. Authors who wrote about evolution for the young experimented with different ways of making the complex concepts of evolutionary theory accessible and less controversial. Many authors depicted presented evolution in a non-Darwinian form amenable to religious interpretation.

  9. A Tale of Two Crocoducks: Creationist Misuses of Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hofmann, James R.

    2014-10-01

    Although some creationist objections to evolutionary biology are simplistic and thus are easily refuted, when more technical arguments become widespread it is important for science educators to explain the relevant science in a straightforward manner. An interesting case study is provided by misguided allegations about how cytochrome c data pertain to molecular evolution. The most common of these misrepresentations bears a striking similarity to a particularly glaring misunderstanding of what should be expected of a transitional form in a fossil sequence. Although evangelist Kirk Cameron's ridiculous injunction of a hypothetical `crocoduck' as an example of a potential transitional form is frequently invoked to illustrate the ignorance of many critics of evolutionary science, a strikingly analogous argument was applied to cytochrome c data by biochemist Michael Denton in 1985. The details of this analogy are worth exploring to clarify the fallacy of the widely circulated molecular argument.

  10. [Evolution and systematics of nematodes based on molecular investigation].

    PubMed

    Okulewicz, Anna; Perec, Agnieszka

    2004-01-01

    Evolution and systematics of nematodes based on molecular investigation. The use of molecular phylogenetics to examine the interrelationships between animal parasites, free-living nematodes, and plant parasites versus traditional classification based on morphological-ecological characters was discussed and reviewed. Distinct differences were observed between parasitic nematodes and free-living ones. Within the former group, animal parasites turned out to be distinctly different from plant parasites. Using small subunit of ribosomal RNA gene sequence from a wide range of nematodes, there is a possibility to compare animal-parasitic, plant-parasitic and free-living taxa. Nowadays the parasitic nematodes expressed sequence tag (EST) project is currently generating sequence information to provide a new source of data to examine the evolutionary history of this taxonomic group. PMID:16859012

  11. Evolution of molecular crystal optical phonons near structural phase transitions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michki, Nigel; Niessen, Katherine; Xu, Mengyang; Markelz, Andrea

    Molecular crystals are increasingly important photonic and electronic materials. For example organic semiconductors are lightweight compared to inorganic semiconductors and have inexpensive scale up processing with roll to roll printing. However their implementation is limited by their environmental sensitivity, in part arising from the weak intermolecular interactions of the crystal. These weak interactions result in optical phonons in the terahertz frequency range. We examine the evolution of intermolecular interactions near structural phase transitions by measuring the optical phonons as a function of temperature and crystal orientation using terahertz time-domain spectroscopy. The measured orientation dependence of the resonances provides an additional constraint for comparison of the observed spectra with the density functional calculations, enabling us to follow specific phonon modes. We observe crystal reorganization near 350 K for oxalic acid as it transforms from dihydrate to anhydrous form. We also report the first THz spectra for the molecular crystal fructose through its melting point.

  12. Darwinian Behavior in a Cold, Sporadically Fed Pool of Ribonucleotides

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Abstract A testable, explicit origin for Darwinian behavior, feasible on a chaotic early Earth, would aid origins discussion. Here I show that a pool receiving unreliable supplies of unstable ribonucleotide precursors can recurrently fill this role. By using numerical integration, the differential equations governing a sporadically fed pool are solved, yielding quantitative constraints for the proliferation of molecules that also have a chemical phenotype. For example, templated triphosphate nucleotide joining is >104 too slow, suggesting that a group more reactive than pyrophosphate activated primordial nucleotides. However, measured literature rates are sufficient if the Initial Darwinian Ancestor (IDA) resembles a 5′-5′ cofactor-like dinucleotide RNA, synthesized via activation with a phosphorimidazolide-like group. A sporadically fed pool offers unforeseen advantages; for example, the pool hosts a novel replicator which is predominantly unpaired, even though it replicates. Such free template is optimized for effective selection during its replication. Pool nucleotides are also subject to a broadly based selection that impels the population toward replication, effective selection, and Darwinian behavior. Such a primordial pool may have left detectable modern traces. A sporadically fed ribonucleotide pool also fits a recognizable early Earth environment, has recognizable modern descendants, and suits the early shape of the phylogenetic tree of Earthly life. Finally, analysis points to particular data now needed to refine the hypothesis. Accordingly, a kinetically explicit chemical hypothesis for a terran IDA can be justified, and informative experiments seem readily accessible. Key Words: Cofactor—RNA—Origin of life—Replication—Initial Darwinian Ancestor (IDA). Astrobiology 12, 870–883. PMID:22946838

  13. Darwinian behavior in a cold, sporadically fed pool of ribonucleotides.

    PubMed

    Yarus, Michael

    2012-09-01

    A testable, explicit origin for Darwinian behavior, feasible on a chaotic early Earth, would aid origins discussion. Here I show that a pool receiving unreliable supplies of unstable ribonucleotide precursors can recurrently fill this role. By using numerical integration, the differential equations governing a sporadically fed pool are solved, yielding quantitative constraints for the proliferation of molecules that also have a chemical phenotype. For example, templated triphosphate nucleotide joining is >10(4) too slow, suggesting that a group more reactive than pyrophosphate activated primordial nucleotides. However, measured literature rates are sufficient if the Initial Darwinian Ancestor (IDA) resembles a 5'-5' cofactor-like dinucleotide RNA, synthesized via activation with a phosphorimidazolide-like group. A sporadically fed pool offers unforeseen advantages; for example, the pool hosts a novel replicator which is predominantly unpaired, even though it replicates. Such free template is optimized for effective selection during its replication. Pool nucleotides are also subject to a broadly based selection that impels the population toward replication, effective selection, and Darwinian behavior. Such a primordial pool may have left detectable modern traces. A sporadically fed ribonucleotide pool also fits a recognizable early Earth environment, has recognizable modern descendants, and suits the early shape of the phylogenetic tree of Earthly life. Finally, analysis points to particular data now needed to refine the hypothesis. Accordingly, a kinetically explicit chemical hypothesis for a terran IDA can be justified, and informative experiments seem readily accessible. PMID:22946838

  14. The interface of protein structure, protein biophysics, and molecular evolution

    PubMed Central

    Liberles, David A; Teichmann, Sarah A; Bahar, Ivet; Bastolla, Ugo; Bloom, Jesse; Bornberg-Bauer, Erich; Colwell, Lucy J; de Koning, A P Jason; Dokholyan, Nikolay V; Echave, Julian; Elofsson, Arne; Gerloff, Dietlind L; Goldstein, Richard A; Grahnen, Johan A; Holder, Mark T; Lakner, Clemens; Lartillot, Nicholas; Lovell, Simon C; Naylor, Gavin; Perica, Tina; Pollock, David D; Pupko, Tal; Regan, Lynne; Roger, Andrew; Rubinstein, Nimrod; Shakhnovich, Eugene; Sjölander, Kimmen; Sunyaev, Shamil; Teufel, Ashley I; Thorne, Jeffrey L; Thornton, Joseph W; Weinreich, Daniel M; Whelan, Simon

    2012-01-01

    Abstract The interface of protein structural biology, protein biophysics, molecular evolution, and molecular population genetics forms the foundations for a mechanistic understanding of many aspects of protein biochemistry. Current efforts in interdisciplinary protein modeling are in their infancy and the state-of-the art of such models is described. Beyond the relationship between amino acid substitution and static protein structure, protein function, and corresponding organismal fitness, other considerations are also discussed. More complex mutational processes such as insertion and deletion and domain rearrangements and even circular permutations should be evaluated. The role of intrinsically disordered proteins is still controversial, but may be increasingly important to consider. Protein geometry and protein dynamics as a deviation from static considerations of protein structure are also important. Protein expression level is known to be a major determinant of evolutionary rate and several considerations including selection at the mRNA level and the role of interaction specificity are discussed. Lastly, the relationship between modeling and needed high-throughput experimental data as well as experimental examination of protein evolution using ancestral sequence resurrection and in vitro biochemistry are presented, towards an aim of ultimately generating better models for biological inference and prediction. PMID:22528593

  15. The evolution of human populations: a molecular perspective.

    PubMed

    Ayala, F J; Escalante, A A

    1996-02-01

    Human evolution exhibits repeated speciations and conspicuous morphological change: from Australopithecus to Homo habilis, H. erectus, and H. sapiens; and from their hominoid ancestor to orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans. Theories of founder-event speciation propose that speciation often occurs as a consequence of population bottlenecks, down to one or very few individual pairs. Proponents of punctuated equilibrium claim in addition that founder-event speciation results in rapid morphological change. The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) consists of several very polymorphic gene loci. The genealogy of 19 human alleles of the DQB1 locus coalesces more than 30 million years ago, before the divergence of apes and Old World monkeys. Many human alleles are more closely related to pongid and cercopithecoid alleles than to other human alleles. Using the theory of gene coalescence, we estimate that these polymorphisms require human populations of the order of N = 100,000 individuals for the last several million years. This conclusion is confirmed by computer simulations showing the rate of decay of the polymorphisms over time. Computer simulations indicate, in addition, that in human evolution no bottlenecks have occurred with fewer than several thousand individuals. We evaluate studies of mtDNA, Y-chromosome, and microsatellite autosomal polymorphisms and conclude that they are consistent with the MHC result that no narrow population bottlenecks have occurred in human evolution. The available molecular information favors a recent African origin of modern humans, who spread out of Africa approximately 100,000 to 200,000 years ago. PMID:8673287

  16. Statistical mechanics of quasispecies theories of molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Munoz Tavera, Enrique

    This thesis presents a statistical mechanical analysis of different formulations of quasispecies theory of molecular evolution. These theories, characterized by two different families of models, the Crow-Kimura and the Eigen model, constitute a microscopie description of evolution. These models are most often used for RNA viruses, where a phase transition is predicted, in agreement with experiments, between an organized or quasispecies phase, and a disordered non-selective phase when the mutation rate exceeds a critical value. The methods of statistical mechanics, in particular field-theoretic methods, are employed to obtain analytic solutions to four problems relevant to biological interest. The first chapter presents the study of evolution under a multiple-peak fitness landscape, with biological applications in the study of the proliferation of viruses or cancer under the control of drugs or the immune system. The second chapter studies the effect of incorporating different forms of horizontal gene transfer and two-parent recombination to the classical formulation of quasispecies models. As an example, we study the effect of the sign of epistasis of the fitness landscape on the advantage or disadvantage of recombination for the mean fitness. The third chapter considers the relaxation of the purine/pyrimidine assumption in the classical formulation of the models, by formulating and solving the parallel and Eigen models in the context of a four-letter alphabet. The fourth and final chapter studies finite population effects, both in the presence and in the absence of horizontal gene transfer.

  17. Rhodopsin Molecular Evolution in Mammals Inhabiting Low Light Environments

    PubMed Central

    Zhao, Huabin; Ru, Binghua; Teeling, Emma C.; Faulkes, Christopher G.; Zhang, Shuyi; Rossiter, Stephen J.

    2009-01-01

    The ecological radiation of mammals to inhabit a variety of light environments is largely attributed to adaptive changes in their visual systems. Visual capabilities are conferred by anatomical features of the eyes as well as the combination and properties of their constituent light sensitive pigments. To test whether evolutionary switches to different niches characterized by dim-light conditions coincided with molecular adaptation of the rod pigment rhodopsin, we sequenced the rhodopsin gene in twenty-two mammals including several bats and subterranean mole-rats. We compared these to thirty-seven published mammal rhodopsin sequences, from species with divergent visual ecologies, including nocturnal, diurnal and aquatic groups. All taxa possessed an intact functional rhodopsin; however, phylogenetic tree reconstruction recovered a gene tree in which rodents were not monophyletic, and also in which echolocating bats formed a monophyletic group. These conflicts with the species tree appear to stem from accelerated evolution in these groups, both of which inhabit low light environments. Selection tests confirmed divergent selection pressures in the clades of subterranean rodents and bats, as well as in marine mammals that live in turbid conditions. We also found evidence of divergent selection pressures among groups of bats with different sensory modalities based on vision and echolocation. Sliding window analyses suggest most changes occur in transmembrane domains, particularly obvious within the pinnipeds; however, we found no obvious pattern between photopic niche and predicted spectral sensitivity based on known critical amino acids. This study indicates that the independent evolution of rhodopsin vision in ecologically specialised groups of mammals has involved molecular evolution at the sequence level, though such changes might not mediate spectral sensitivity directly. PMID:20016835

  18. Selection by differential molecular survival: a possible mechanism of early chemical evolution.

    PubMed Central

    de Duve, C

    1987-01-01

    A model is proposed to account for selective chemical evolution, progressing from a relatively simple initial set of abiotic synthetic phenomena up to the elaborately sophisticated processes that are almost certainly required to produce the complex molecules, such as replicatable RNA-like oligonucleotides, needed for a Darwinian form of selection to start operating. The model makes the following assumptions: (i) that a small number of micromolecular substances were present at high concentration; (ii) that a random assembly mechanism combined these molecules into a variety of multimeric compounds comprising a wide repertoire of rudimentary catalytic activities; and (iii) that a lytic system capable of breaking down the assembled products existed. The model assumes further that catalysts supplied with substrates were significantly protected against breakdown. It is shown that, by granting these assumptions, an increasingly complex network of metabolic pathways would progressively be established. At the same time, the catalysts concerned would accumulate selectively to become choice substrates for elongation and other modifications that could enhance their efficiency, as well as their survival. Chemical evolution would thus proceed by a dual process of metabolic extension and catalytic innovation. Such a process should be largely deterministic and predictable from initial conditions. PMID:3479788

  19. Supernova Feedback in Molecular Clouds: Global Evolution and Dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Körtgen, Bastian; Seifried, Daniel; Banerjee, Robi; Vázquez-Semadeni, Enrique; Zamora-Avilés, Manuel

    2016-04-01

    We use magnetohydrodynamical simulations of converging warm neutral medium flows to analyse the formation and global evolution of magnetised and turbulent molecular clouds subject to supernova feedback from massive stars. We show that supernova feedback alone fails to disrupt entire, gravitationally bound, molecular clouds, but is able to disperse small-sized (˜10 pc) regions on timescales of less than 1 Myr. Efficient radiative cooling of the supernova remnant as well as strong compression of the surrounding gas result in non-persistent energy and momentum input from the supernovae. However, if the time between subsequent supernovae is short and they are clustered, large hot bubbles form that disperse larger regions of the parental cloud. On longer timescales, supernova feedback increases the amount of gas with moderate temperatures (T ≈ 300 - 3000 K). Despite its inability to disrupt molecular clouds, supernova feedback leaves a strong imprint on the star formation process. We find an overall reduction of the star formation efficiency by a factor of 2 and of the star formation rate by roughly factors of 2-4.

  20. Supernova feedback in molecular clouds: global evolution and dynamics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Körtgen, Bastian; Seifried, Daniel; Banerjee, Robi; Vázquez-Semadeni, Enrique; Zamora-Avilés, Manuel

    2016-07-01

    We use magnetohydrodynamical simulations of converging warm neutral medium flows to analyse the formation and global evolution of magnetized and turbulent molecular clouds subject to supernova feedback from massive stars. We show that supernova feedback alone fails to disrupt entire, gravitationally bound, molecular clouds, but is able to disperse small-sized (˜10 pc) regions on time-scales of less than 1 Myr. Efficient radiative cooling of the supernova remnant as well as strong compression of the surrounding gas result in non-persistent energy and momentum input from the supernovae. However, if the time between subsequent supernovae is short and they are clustered, large hot bubbles form that disperse larger regions of the parental cloud. On longer time-scales, supernova feedback increases the amount of gas with moderate temperatures (T ≈ 300-3000 K). Despite its inability to disrupt molecular clouds, supernova feedback leaves a strong imprint on the star formation process. We find an overall reduction of the star formation efficiency by a factor of 2 and of the star formation rate by roughly factors of 2-4.

  1. MOLECULAR GAS EVOLUTION ACROSS A SPIRAL ARM IN M51

    SciTech Connect

    Egusa, Fumi; Scoville, Nick; Koda, Jin

    2011-01-10

    We present sensitive and high angular resolution CO(1-0) data obtained by the Combined Array for Research in Millimeter-wave Astronomy observations toward the nearby grand-design spiral galaxy M51. The angular resolution of 0.''7 corresponds to 30 pc, which is similar to the typical size of giant molecular clouds (GMCs), and the sensitivity is also high enough to detect typical GMCs. Within the 1' field of view centered on a spiral arm, a number of GMC-scale structures are detected as clumps. However, only a few clumps are found to be associated with each giant molecular association (GMA) and more than 90% of the total flux is resolved out in our data. Considering the high sensitivity and resolution of our data, these results indicate that GMAs are not mere confusion with GMCs but plausibly smooth structures. In addition, we have found that the most massive clumps are located downstream of the spiral arm, which suggests that they are at a later stage of molecular cloud evolution across the arm and plausibly are cores of GMAs. By comparing with H{alpha} and Pa{alpha} images, most of these cores are found to have nearby star-forming regions. We thus propose an evolutionary scenario for the interstellar medium, in which smaller molecular clouds collide to form smooth GMAs at spiral arm regions and then star formation is triggered in the GMA cores. Our new CO data have revealed the internal structure of GMAs at GMC scales, finding the most massive substructures on the downstream side of the arm in close association with the brightest H II regions.

  2. Electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution in acidic water with molecular cobalt tetraazamacrocycles.

    PubMed

    McCrory, Charles C L; Uyeda, Christopher; Peters, Jonas C

    2012-02-15

    A series of water-soluble molecular cobalt complexes of tetraazamacrocyclic ligands are reported for the electrocatalytic production of H(2) from pH 2.2 aqueous solutions. The comparative data reported for this family of complexes shed light on their relative efficiencies for hydrogen evolution in water. Rotating disk electrode voltammetry data are presented for each of the complexes discussed, as are data concerning their respective pH-dependent electrocatalytic activity. In particular, two diimine-dioxime complexes were identified as exhibiting catalytic onset at comparatively low overpotentials relative to other reported homogeneous cobalt and nickel electrocatalysts in aqueous solution. These complexes are stable at pH 2.2 and produce hydrogen with high Faradaic efficiency in bulk electrolysis experiments over time intervals ranging from 2 to 24 h. PMID:22280515

  3. Toward the Darwinian transition: Switching between distributed and speciated states in a simple model of early life

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Arnoldt, Hinrich; Strogatz, Steven H.; Timme, Marc

    2015-11-01

    It has been hypothesized that in the era just before the last universal common ancestor emerged, life on earth was fundamentally collective. Ancient life forms shared their genetic material freely through massive horizontal gene transfer (HGT). At a certain point, however, life made a transition to the modern era of individuality and vertical descent. Here we present a minimal model for stochastic processes potentially contributing to this hypothesized "Darwinian transition." The model suggests that HGT-dominated dynamics may have been intermittently interrupted by selection-driven processes during which genotypes became fitter and decreased their inclination toward HGT. Stochastic switching in the population dynamics with three-point (hypernetwork) interactions may have destabilized the HGT-dominated collective state and essentially contributed to the emergence of vertical descent and the first well-defined species in early evolution. A systematic nonlinear analysis of the stochastic model dynamics covering key features of evolutionary processes (such as selection, mutation, drift and HGT) supports this view. Our findings thus suggest a viable direction out of early collective evolution, potentially enabling the start of individuality and vertical Darwinian evolution.

  4. Molecular Evolution and Structural Features of IRAK Family Members

    PubMed Central

    Gosu, Vijayakumar; Basith, Shaherin; Durai, Prasannavenkatesh; Choi, Sangdun

    2012-01-01

    The interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase (IRAK) family comprises critical signaling mediators of the TLR/IL-1R signaling pathways. IRAKs are Ser/Thr kinases. There are 4 members in the vertebrate genome (IRAK1, IRAK2, IRAKM, and IRAK4) and an IRAK homolog, Pelle, in insects. IRAK family members are highly conserved in vertebrates, but the evolutionary relationship between IRAKs in vertebrates and insects is not clear. To investigate the evolutionary history and functional divergence of IRAK members, we performed extensive bioinformatics analysis. The phylogenetic relationship between IRAK sequences suggests that gene duplication events occurred in the evolutionary lineage, leading to early vertebrates. A comparative phylogenetic analysis with insect homologs of IRAKs suggests that the Tube protein is a homolog of IRAK4, unlike the anticipated protein, Pelle. Furthermore, the analysis supports that an IRAK4-like kinase is an ancestral protein in the metazoan lineage of the IRAK family. Through functional analysis, several potentially diverged sites were identified in the common death domain and kinase domain. These sites have been constrained during evolution by strong purifying selection, suggesting their functional importance within IRAKs. In summary, our study highlighted the molecular evolution of the IRAK family, predicted the amino acids that contributed to functional divergence, and identified structural variations among the IRAK paralogs that may provide a starting point for further experimental investigations. PMID:23166766

  5. Molecular Evolution of the Capsid Gene in Norovirus Genogroup I.

    PubMed

    Kobayashi, Miho; Yoshizumi, Shima; Kogawa, Sayaka; Takahashi, Tomoko; Ueki, Yo; Shinohara, Michiyo; Mizukoshi, Fuminori; Tsukagoshi, Hiroyuki; Sasaki, Yoshiko; Suzuki, Rieko; Shimizu, Hideaki; Iwakiri, Akira; Okabe, Nobuhiko; Shirabe, Komei; Shinomiya, Hiroto; Kozawa, Kunihisa; Kusunoki, Hideki; Ryo, Akihide; Kuroda, Makoto; Katayama, Kazuhiko; Kimura, Hirokazu

    2015-01-01

    We studied the molecular evolution of the capsid gene in all genotypes (genotypes 1-9) of human norovirus (NoV) genogroup I. The evolutionary time scale and rate were estimated by the Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) method. We also performed selective pressure analysis and B-cell linear epitope prediction in the deduced NoV GI capsid protein. Furthermore, we analysed the effective population size of the virus using Bayesian skyline plot (BSP) analysis. A phylogenetic tree by MCMC showed that NoV GI diverged from the common ancestor of NoV GII, GIII, and GIV approximately 2,800 years ago with rapid evolution (about 10(-3) substitutions/site/year). Some positive selection sites and over 400 negative selection sites were estimated in the deduced capsid protein. Many epitopes were estimated in the deduced virus capsid proteins. An epitope of GI.1 may be associated with histo-blood group antigen binding sites (Ser377, Pro378, and Ser380). Moreover, BSP suggested that the adaptation of NoV GI strains to humans was affected by natural selection. The results suggested that NoV GI strains evolved rapidly and date back to many years ago. Additionally, the virus may have undergone locally affected natural selection in the host resulting in its adaptation to humans. PMID:26338545

  6. Darwinian psychiatry and the concept of mental disorder.

    PubMed

    Troisi, Alfonso; McGuire, Michael

    2002-12-01

    In this paper, we discuss the concept of mental disorder from the perspective of Darwinian psychiatry. Using this perspective does not resolve all of the quandaries which philosophers of medicine face when trying to provide a general definition of disease. However, it does take an important step toward clarifying why current methods of psychiatric diagnosis are criticizable and how clinicians can improve the identification of true mental disorders. According to Darwinian psychiatry, the validity of the conventional criteria of psychiatric morbidity is dependent on their association with functional impairment. Suffering, statistical deviance, and physical lesion are frequent correlates of mental disorders but, in absence of dysfunctional consequences, none of these criteria is sufficient for considering a psychological or behavioral condition as a psychiatric disorder. The Darwinian concept of mental disorder builds from two basic ideas: (1) the capacity to achieve biological goals is the best single attribute that characterizes mental health; and (2), the assessment of functional capacities cannot be properly made without consideration of the environment in which the individual lives. These two ideas reflect a concept of mental disorder that is both functional and ecological. A correct application of evolutionary knowledge should not necessarily lead to the conclusion that therapeutic intervention should be limited to conditions that jeopardize biological adaptation. Because one of the basic aims of medicine is to alleviate human suffering, an understanding of the evolutionary foundations of the concept of mental disorder should translate into more effective ways for promoting individual and social well-being, not into the search for natural laws determining what is therapeutically right or wrong. PMID:12496733

  7. Getting Past the RNA World: The Initial Darwinian Ancestor

    PubMed Central

    Yarus, Michael

    2011-01-01

    SUMMARY A little-noted result of the confirmation of multiple premises of the RNA-world hypothesis is that we now know something about the dawn organisms that followed the origin of life, perhaps over 4 billion years ago. We are therefore in an improved position to reason about the biota just before RNA times, during the era of the first replicators, the first Darwinian creatures on Earth. An RNA congener still prominent in modern biology is a plausible descendent of these first replicators. PMID:20719875

  8. Sex speeds adaptation by altering the dynamics of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    McDonald, Michael J; Rice, Daniel P; Desai, Michael M

    2016-03-10

    Sex and recombination are pervasive throughout nature despite their substantial costs. Understanding the evolutionary forces that maintain these phenomena is a central challenge in biology. One longstanding hypothesis argues that sex is beneficial because recombination speeds adaptation. Theory has proposed several distinct population genetic mechanisms that could underlie this advantage. For example, sex can promote the fixation of beneficial mutations either by alleviating interference competition (the Fisher-Muller effect) or by separating them from deleterious load (the ruby in the rubbish effect). Previous experiments confirm that sex can increase the rate of adaptation, but these studies did not observe the evolutionary dynamics that drive this effect at the genomic level. Here we present the first, to our knowledge, comparison between the sequence-level dynamics of adaptation in experimental sexual and asexual Saccharomyces cerevisiae populations, which allows us to identify the specific mechanisms by which sex speeds adaptation. We find that sex alters the molecular signatures of evolution by changing the spectrum of mutations that fix, and confirm theoretical predictions that it does so by alleviating clonal interference. We also show that substantially deleterious mutations hitchhike to fixation in adapting asexual populations. In contrast, recombination prevents such mutations from fixing. Our results demonstrate that sex both speeds adaptation and alters its molecular signature by allowing natural selection to more efficiently sort beneficial from deleterious mutations. PMID:26909573

  9. Evolution of Molecular Clouds in a Hot Plasma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vieser, Wolfgang; Hensler, Gerhard

    We are performing 2D hydrodynamic simulations to examine the evaporation and condensation of molecular clouds in the hot phase of the interstellar medium due to heat conduction. Heat conduction is a process that may not be neglected for clouds which are embedded in a hot gas, High-Velocity-Clouds falling through the hot galactic halo or clouds in a galactic chimney. The evolution of cold and dense clouds with different masses and radii is calculated in the subsonic streaming of a hot rarefied plasma. Our code includes self-gravity, heating and cooling effects and heat conduction by electrons. Simulations with and without heat conduction show significant differences. Heat conduction provides a possibility to stabilize clouds agains hydrodynamic instabilities. Molecular clouds become able to survive significantly longer in a violent stream of hot gas. Additionally, this hot gas condensates onto the cloud's surface and is mixed very efficiently with the cloud material. Therefore, heat conduction is an important process, which has to be considered in order to explain the existence and metallicity of clouds in a stream of hot gas.

  10. Evolution of Molecular Alignment in a Background Plasma

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pearson, Andrew; Antonsen, Thomas

    2008-11-01

    We study numerically the behavior of rotational revivals in a molecular gas when subject to the fluctuating electric field of a background plasma. We model a molecule as a rigid rotor and couple it to an electric field using permanent and induced multipole interactions. The evolution of the density matrix for the molecule is calculated for a short, intense laser pulse, followed by a fluctuating electric field. A broad superposition of angular momentum eigenstates of a molecule is created by the laser field, and the result is a set of recurring peaks in the probability density for observing a particular orientation -- the so-called 'rotational revivals.' Experimentally, this effect is manifest as a variation in the refractive index of the gas [1]. The fluctuating field is created using the dressed particle method, and the result is a loss of coherence between the phases of the basis states of the molecule, which causes a decreasing amplitude for subsequent alignment peaks. Modern short-pulse lasers operate with sufficient intensity to make this effect relevant to experiments in molecular alignment. This work was supported by the Department of Energy.[1] Y.-H. Chen et. al., Optics Express Vol. 15, No. 18, 11341 (2007)

  11. The first molecular phylogeny of Strepsiptera (Insecta) reveals an early burst of molecular evolution correlated with the transition to endoparasitism.

    PubMed

    McMahon, Dino P; Hayward, Alexander; Kathirithamby, Jeyaraney

    2011-01-01

    A comprehensive model of evolution requires an understanding of the relationship between selection at the molecular and phenotypic level. We investigate this in Strepsiptera, an order of endoparasitic insects whose evolutionary biology is poorly studied. We present the first molecular phylogeny of Strepsiptera, and use this as a framework to investigate the association between parasitism and molecular evolution. We find evidence of a significant burst in the rate of molecular evolution in the early history of Strepsiptera. The evolution of morphological traits linked to parasitism is significantly correlated with the pattern in molecular rate. The correlated burst in genotypic-phenotypic evolution precedes the main phase of strepsipteran diversification, which is characterised by the return to a low and even molecular rate, and a period of relative morphological stability. These findings suggest that the transition to endoparasitism led to relaxation of selective constraint in the strepsipteran genome. Our results indicate that a parasitic lifestyle can affect the rate of molecular evolution, although other causal life-history traits correlated with parasitism may also play an important role. PMID:21738621

  12. The consuming instinct. What Darwinian consumption reveals about human nature.

    PubMed

    Saad, Gad

    2013-01-01

    Editor's note: In this engaging talk given last February on a particularly cold and blustery day at Texas Tech University, Professor Gad Saad of Concordia University discusses his work in the area of evolutionary consumption. In making the case for understanding consumerism from a Darwinian perspective, Saad addresses several key tenets from his books The Consuming Instinct (1) and The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption. (2) In particular, Saad argues that: (1) many consumption acts can be mapped onto four key Darwinian modules (survival, mating, kin selection, and reciprocal altruism); and, (2) cultural products such as song lyrics and movie plotlines are fossils of the human mind that highlight a shared, biologically based human nature. In this wide-ranging inquiry, Saad summarizes several of his other empirical works, including the effects of conspicuous consumption on men's testosterone levels (3) and how the ovulatory cycle in the human female influences consumption. (4) Overall, Professor Saad contends that an infusion of evolutionary and biologically based perspectives into the discipline of consumer behavior and related government regulatory policies yields myriad benefits, notably greater consilience, more effective practices, an ethos of interdisciplinarity, and methodological pluralism. PMID:24047091

  13. Social darwinian influences on conceptions of marriage, sex, and motherhood.

    PubMed

    Franzblau, S H

    1996-09-01

    This paper examines the influence of social darwinian and eugenic ideologies on paradigms of marriage, sex, and motherhood from 1900 until the present time. Two major ideological trends of the new entrepreneurial class in England and the United States after the Industrial Revolution concerned 1) increasing the marriage and fertility rates of middle and upper class white women; and 2) establishing early parental bonding between these same women and their infants to ensure the perpetuation of (white) "race culture". These ideological concerns are evident in post-1900 eugenically-oriented journals and books on sex and marriage, which discuss increasing marriage and fertility rates of middle and upper class white women, including the postponement of intellectual studies until after the active reproductive period; eugenicist education, selective sterilization of 'unfit' women; and the glorification of sexual intercourse for women. Funding for basic research on reproductive sex, sponsored by the National Research Council, was based in these ideological trends. After WWII blatant eugenic ideologies disappeared. However, post WWII research on mother-infant bonding or attachment gave support to earlier eugenic ideals. Recent examples of the continuation of social darwinian influences, as well as their social and legal implications are discussed. PMID:24254921

  14. Evolution of the atomic and molecular gas content of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Popping, Gergö; Somerville, Rachel S.; Trager, Scott C.

    2014-08-01

    We study the evolution of atomic and molecular gas in galaxies in semi-analytic models of galaxy formation that include new modelling of the partitioning of cold gas in galactic discs into atomic, molecular, and ionized phases. We adopt two scenarios for the formation of molecules: one pressure based and one metallicity based. We find that both recipes successfully reproduce the gas fractions and gas-to-stellar mass ratios of H I and H2 in local galaxies, as well as the H I and H2 disc sizes up to z ≤ 2. We reach good agreement with the locally observed H I and H2 mass function, although both recipes slightly overpredict the low-mass end of the H I mass function. Both of our models predict that the high-mass end of the H I mass function remains nearly constant at redshifts z < 2.0. The metallicity-based recipe yields a higher cosmic density of cold gas and much lower cosmic H2 fraction over the entire redshift range probed than the pressure-based recipe. These strong differences in H I mass function and cosmic density between the two recipes are driven by low-mass galaxies (log (M*/M⊙) ≤ 7) residing in low-mass haloes (log (Mvir/M⊙) ≤ 10). Both recipes predict that galaxy gas fractions remain high from z ˜ 6to3 and drop rapidly at lower redshift. The galaxy H2 fractions show a similar trend, but drop even more rapidly. We provide predictions for the CO J = 1-0 luminosity of galaxies, which will be directly comparable with observations with sub-mm and radio instruments.

  15. Molecular evolution of the MAGUK family in metazoan genomes

    PubMed Central

    te Velthuis, Aartjan JW; Admiraal, Jeroen F; Bagowski, Christoph P

    2007-01-01

    Background Development, differentiation and physiology of metazoans all depend on cell to cell communication and subsequent intracellular signal transduction. Often, these processes are orchestrated via sites of specialized cell-cell contact and involve receptors, adhesion molecules and scaffolding proteins. Several of these scaffolding proteins important for synaptic and cellular junctions belong to the large family of membrane-associated guanylate kinases (MAGUK). In order to elucidate the origin and the evolutionary history of the MAGUKs we investigated full-length cDNA, EST and genomic sequences of species in major phyla. Results Our results indicate that at least four of the seven MAGUK subfamilies were present in early metazoan lineages, such as Porifera. We employed domain sequence and structure based methods to infer a model for the evolutionary history of the MAGUKs. Notably, the phylogenetic trees for the guanylate kinase (GK)-, the PDZ- and the SH3-domains all suggested a matching evolutionary model which was further supported by molecular modeling of the 3D structures of different GK domains. We found no MAGUK in plants, fungi or other unicellular organisms, which suggests that the MAGUK core structure originated early in metazoan history. Conclusion In summary, we have characterized here the molecular and structural evolution of the large MAGUK family. Using the MAGUKs as an example, our results show that it is possible to derive a highly supported evolutionary model for important multidomain families by analyzing encoded protein domains. It further suggests that larger superfamilies encoded in the different genomes can be analyzed in a similar manner. PMID:17678554

  16. Chemical evolution of giant molecular clouds in simulations of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richings, Alexander J.; Schaye, Joop

    2016-08-01

    We present an analysis of giant molecular clouds (GMCs) within hydrodynamic simulations of isolated, low-mass (M* ˜ 109 M⊙) disc galaxies. We study the evolution of molecular abundances and the implications for CO emission and the XCO conversion factor in individual clouds. We define clouds either as regions above a density threshold n_{H, min} = 10 {cm}^{-3}, or using an observationally motivated CO intensity threshold of 0.25 {K} {km} {s}^{-1}. Our simulations include a non-equilibrium chemical model with 157 species, including 20 molecules. We also investigate the effects of resolution and pressure floors (i.e. Jeans limiters). We find cloud lifetimes up to ≈ 40 Myr, with a median of 13 Myr, in agreement with observations. At one-tenth solar metallicity, young clouds ( ≲ 10-15 Myr) are underabundant in H2 and CO compared to chemical equilibrium, by factors of ≈3 and one to two orders of magnitude, respectively. At solar metallicity, GMCs reach chemical equilibrium faster (within ≈ 1 Myr). We also compute CO emission from individual clouds. The mean CO intensity, ICO, is strongly suppressed at low dust extinction, Av, and possibly saturates towards high Av, in agreement with observations. The ICO-Av relation shifts towards higher Av for higher metallicities and, to a lesser extent, for stronger UV radiation. At one-tenth solar metallicity, CO emission is weaker in young clouds ( ≲ 10-15 Myr), consistent with the underabundance of CO. Consequently, XCO decreases by an order of magnitude from 0 to 15 Myr, albeit with a large scatter.

  17. Chemical evolution of giant molecular clouds in simulations of galaxies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Richings, Alexander J.; Schaye, Joop

    2016-08-01

    We present an analysis of Giant Molecular Clouds (GMCs) within hydrodynamic simulations of isolated, low-mass (M* ~ 10^9 M_sol) disc galaxies. We study the evolution of molecular abundances and the implications for CO emission and the X_CO conversion factor in individual clouds. We define clouds either as regions above a density threshold n_H,min = 10 cm^-3, or using an observationally motivated CO intensity threshold of 0.25 K km s^-1. Our simulations include a non-equilibrium chemical model with 157 species, including 20 molecules. We also investigate the effects of resolution and pressure floors (i.e. Jeans limiters). We find cloud lifetimes up to ~40 Myr, with a median of 13 Myr, in agreement with observations. At one tenth solar metallicity, young clouds (<10-15 Myr) are underabundant in H2 and CO compared to chemical equilibrium, by factors of ~3 and 1-2 orders of magnitude, respectively. At solar metallicity, GMCs reach chemical equilibrium faster (within ~1 Myr). We also compute CO emission from individual clouds. The mean CO intensity, I_CO, is strongly suppressed at low dust extinction, A_v, and possibly saturates towards high A_v, in agreement with observations. The I_CO - A_v relation shifts towards higher A_v for higher metallicities and, to a lesser extent, for stronger UV radiation. At one tenth solar metallicity, CO emission is weaker in young clouds (<10-15 Myr), consistent with the underabundance of CO. Consequently, X_CO decreases by an order of magnitude from 0 to 15 Myr, albeit with a large scatter.

  18. The Structure and Evolution of Self-Gravitating Molecular Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holliman, John Herbert, II

    1995-01-01

    We present a theoretical formalism to evaluate the structure of molecular clouds and to determine precollapse conditions in star-forming regions. Models consist of pressure-bounded, self-gravitating spheres of a single -fluid ideal gas. We treat the case without rotation. The analysis is generalized to consider states in hydrostatic equilibrium maintained by multiple pressure components. Individual pressures vary with density as P_i(r) ~ rho^{gamma {rm p},i}(r), where gamma_{rm p},i is the polytropic index. Evolution depends additionally on whether conduction occurs on a dynamical time scale and on the adiabatic index gammai of each component, which is modified to account for the effects of any thermal coupling to the environment of the cloud. Special attention is given to properly representing the major contributors to dynamical support in molecular clouds: the pressures due to static magnetic fields, Alfven waves, and thermal motions. Straightforward adjustments to the model allow us to treat the intrinsically anisotropic support provided by the static fields. We derive structure equations, as well as perturbation equations for performing a linear stability analysis. The analysis provides insight on the nature of dynamical motions due to collapse from an equilibrium state and estimates the mass of condensed objects that form in such a process. After presenting a set of general results, we describe models of star-forming regions that include the major pressure components. We parameterize the extent of ambipolar diffusion. The analysis contributes to the physical understanding of several key results from observations of these regions. Commonly observed quantities are explicitly cross-referenced with model results. We theoretically determine density and linewidth profiles on scales ranging from that of molecular cloud cores to that of giant molecular clouds (GMCs). The model offers an explanation of the mean pressures in GMCs, which are observed to be high relative

  19. Molecular mechanisms of cobalt-catalyzed hydrogen evolution

    PubMed Central

    Marinescu, Smaranda C.; Winkler, Jay R.; Gray, Harry B.

    2012-01-01

    Several cobalt complexes catalyze the evolution of hydrogen from acidic solutions, both homogeneously and at electrodes. The detailed molecular mechanisms of these transformations remain unresolved, largely owing to the fact that key reactive intermediates have eluded detection. One method of stabilizing reactive intermediates involves minimizing the overall reaction free-energy change. Here, we report a new cobalt(I) complex that reacts with tosylic acid to evolve hydrogen with a driving force of just 30 meV/Co. Protonation of CoI produces a transient CoIII-H complex that was characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The CoIII-H intermediate decays by second-order kinetics with an inverse dependence on acid concentration. Analysis of the kinetics suggests that CoIII-H produces hydrogen by two competing pathways: a slower homolytic route involving two CoIII-H species and a dominant heterolytic channel in which a highly reactive CoII-H transient is generated by CoI reduction of CoIII-H. PMID:22949704

  20. Dynamical Evolution of Supernova Remnants Breaking Through Molecular Clouds

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cho, Wankee; Kim, Jongsoo; Koo, Bon-Chul

    2015-04-01

    We carry out three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of the supernova remnants (SNRs) produced inside molecular clouds (MCs) near their surface using the HLL code tep{har83}. We explore the dynamical evolution and the X-ray morphology of SNRs after breaking through the MC surface for ranges of the explosion depths below the surface and the density ratios of the clouds to the intercloud media (ICM). We find that if an SNR breaks out through an MC surface in its Sedov stage, the outermost dense shell of the remnant is divided into several layers. The divided layers are subject to the Rayleigh-Taylor instability and fragmented. On the other hand, if an SNR breaks through an MC after the remnant enters the snowplow phase, the radiative shell is not divided to layers. We also compare the predictions of previous analytic solutions for the expansion of SNRs in stratified media with our one-dimensional simulations. Moreover, we produce synthetic X-ray surface brightness in order to research the center-bright X-ray morphology shown in thermal composite SNRs. In the late stages, a breakout SNR shows the center-bright X-ray morphology inside an MC in our results. We apply our model to the observational results of the X-ray morphology of the thermal composite SNR 3C 391.

  1. HIV Evolution and Escape.

    PubMed Central

    Richman, Douglas D.; Little, Susan J.; Smith, Davey M.; Wrin, Terri; Petropoulos, Christos; Wong, Joseph K.

    2004-01-01

    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) exemplifies the principles of Darwinian evolution with a telescoped chronology. Because of its high mutation rate and remarkably high rates of replication, evolution can be appreciated over periods of days in contrast to the durations conceived of by Darwin. Certain selective pressures that drive the evolution of HIV include chemotherapy, anatomic compartmentalization and the immune response. Examples of these selective forces on HIV evolution are described. Images Fig. 5 PMID:17060974

  2. Molecular evolution of SRP cycle components: functional implications.

    PubMed Central

    Althoff, S; Selinger, D; Wise, J A

    1994-01-01

    Signal recognition particle (SRP) is a cytoplasmic ribonucleoprotein that targets a subset of nascent presecretory proteins to the endoplasmic reticulum membrane. We have considered the SRP cycle from the perspective of molecular evolution, using recently determined sequences of genes or cDNAs encoding homologs of SRP (7SL) RNA, the Srp54 protein (Srp54p), and the alpha subunit of the SRP receptor (SR alpha) from a broad spectrum of organisms, together with the remaining five polypeptides of mammalian SRP. Our analysis provides insight into the significance of structural variation in SRP RNA and identifies novel conserved motifs in protein components of this pathway. The lack of congruence between an established phylogenetic tree and size variation in 7SL homologs implies the occurrence of several independent events that eliminated more than half the sequence content of this RNA during bacterial evolution. The apparently non-essential structures are domain I, a tRNA-like element that is constant in archaea, varies in size among eucaryotes, and is generally missing in bacteria, and domain III, a tightly base-paired hairpin that is present in all eucaryotic and archeal SRP RNAs but is invariably absent in bacteria. Based on both structural and functional considerations, we propose that the conserved core of SRP consists minimally of the 54 kDa signal sequence-binding protein complexed with the loosely base-paired domain IV helix of SRP RNA, and is also likely to contain a homolog of the Srp68 protein. Comparative sequence analysis of the methionine-rich M domains from a diverse array of Srp54p homologs reveals an extended region of amino acid identity that resembles a recently identified RNA recognition motif. Multiple sequence alignment of the G domains of Srp54p and SR alpha homologs indicates that these two polypeptides exhibit significant similarity even outside the four GTPase consensus motifs, including a block of nine contiguous amino acids in a location

  3. MOLECULAR CLOUD EVOLUTION. III. ACCRETION VERSUS STELLAR FEEDBACK

    SciTech Connect

    Vazquez-Semadeni, Enrique; ColIn, Pedro; Gomez, Gilberto C.; Ballesteros-Paredes, Javier; Watson, Alan W. E-mail: p.colin@crya.unam.m E-mail: alan@astro.unam.m

    2010-06-01

    We numerically investigate the effect of feedback from the ionization heating from massive stars on the evolution of giant molecular clouds (GMCs) and their star formation efficiency (SFE), which we treat as an instantaneous, time-dependent quantity. We follow the GMCs' evolution from their formation to advanced star-forming stages. After an initial period of contraction, the collapsing clouds begin forming stars, whose feedback evaporates part of the clouds' mass, opposing the continuing accretion from the infalling gas. Our results are as follows: (1) in the presence of feedback, the clouds attain levels of the SFE that are consistent at all times with observational determinations for regions of comparable star formation rates. (2) However, the dense gas mass is larger in general in the presence of feedback, while the total mass (dense gas + stars) is nearly insensitive to the presence of feedback, suggesting that it is determined mainly by the accretion, while the feedback inhibits mainly the conversion of dense gas to stars, because it acts directly to reheat and disperse the gas that is directly on its way to forming stars. (3) The factor by which the SFE is reduced upon the inclusion of feedback is a decreasing function of the cloud's mass, for clouds of size {approx}10 pc. This naturally explains the larger observed SFEs of massive-star-forming regions. (4) The clouds may attain a pseudo-virialized state, with a value of the virial mass very similar to the actual cloud mass. However, this state differs from true virialization in that the clouds, rather than being equilibrium entities, are the centers of a larger-scale collapse, in which accretion replenishes the mass consumed by star formation. (5) The higher-density regions within the clouds are in a similar situation, accreting gas infalling from the less-dense, more extended regions of the clouds. (6) The density probability density functions of the regions containing the clouds in general exhibit a shape

  4. Warfare, genocide, and ethnic conflict: a Darwinian approach

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    As the 21st century dawns, I reflect on the history of humankind with growing concern about the need to understand the underlying biological and cultural roots of ethnic conflict and warfare. In the many studies of human conflict, innate biological predispositions have been neglected. This article is the third part of a series of seminars for medical residents at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas (see http://adarwinstudygroup.org/). The series starts with in-depth coverage of Darwinian natural and sexual selection, with examples from the domestication of animals and plants and the crisis of antibiotic resistance. The series strives to show how biology has been neglected in the study of the we-they orientation of human behavior, with its devastating consequences. The subject material is profoundly disturbing, as it looks at “human nature” and contrasts the “dark side” of human behavior with the opposite, profoundly caring and loving side. PMID:21240320

  5. Choosing the right molecular genetic markers for studying biodiversity: from molecular evolution to practical aspects.

    PubMed

    Chenuil, Anne; Anne, Chenuil

    2006-05-01

    The use of molecular genetic markers (MGMs) has become widespread among evolutionary biologists, and the methods of analysis of genetic data improve rapidly, yet an organized framework in which scientists can work is lacking. Elements of molecular evolution are summarized to explain the origin of variation at the DNA level, its measures, and the relationships linking genetic variability to the biological parameters of the studied organisms. MGM are defined by two components: the DNA region(s) screened, and the technique used to reveal its variation. Criteria of choice belong to three categories: (1) the level of variability, (2) the nature of the information (e.g. dominance vs. codominance, ploidy, ... ) which must be determined according to the biological question and (3) some practical criteria which mainly depend on the equipment of the laboratory and experience of the scientist. A three-step procedure is proposed for drawing up MGMs suitable to answer given biological questions, and compiled data are organized to guide the choice at each step: (1) choice, determined by the biological question, of the level of variability and of the criteria of the nature of information, (2) choice of the DNA region and (3) choice of the technique. PMID:16850217

  6. An organismic critique of molecular darwinism.

    PubMed

    Wicken, J S

    1985-12-21

    The molecular darwinian approach to the emergence of life treats the competition between RNA sequences for nucleotide resources as the primordial selective process in prebiotic evolution, which prescribes possible pathways for the subsequent elaboration of organizational relationships. Since success in this competition is determined by the "phenotypic" properties of RNA strands in the absence of organizational context, the genesis of biotic organization is dependent upon the establishment of co-operative, hypercyclic interactions between competing RNA sequences. The thesis of this paper is that hypercycle theory is based on unwarranted assumptions about the conditions of prebiotic evolution, and that the implications of these assumptions run counter to both empirical evidence and to the rational by which natural selection operates in evolution generally. An organismic alternative to hypercycle theory is suggested, based on the catalytic microsphere and the thermodynamics of selection. PMID:2419704

  7. Patterns of molecular evolution of RNAi genes in social and socially parasitic bumblebees.

    PubMed

    Helbing, Sophie; Lattorff, H Michael G

    2016-08-01

    The high frequency of interactions amongst closely related individuals in social insect colonies enhances pathogen transmission. Group-mediated behavior supporting immune defenses tends to decrease selection acting on immune genes. Along with low effective population sizes this might result in relaxed constraint and rapid evolution of immune system genes. Here, we show that antiviral siRNA genes show high rates of molecular evolution with argonaute 2, armitage and maelstrom evolving faster in social bumblebees compared to their socially parasitic cuckoo bumblebees that lack a worker caste. RNAi genes show frequent positive selection at the codon level additionally supported by the occurrence of parallel evolution. Their evolutionary rate is linked to their pathway specific position with genes directly interacting with viruses showing the highest rates of molecular evolution. We suggest that higher pathogen load in social insects indeed drives the molecular evolution of immune genes including antiviral siRNA, if not compensated by behavior. PMID:27117935

  8. A molecular description of the evolution of resistance

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ordoukhanian, P.; Joyce, G. F.

    1999-01-01

    BACKGROUND: In vitro evolution has been used to obtain nucleic acid molecules with interesting functional properties. The evolution process usually is carried out in a stepwise manner, involving successive rounds of selection, amplification and mutation. Recently, a continuous in vitro evolution system was devised for RNAs that catalyze the ligation of oligonucleotide substrates, allowing the evolution of catalytic function to be studied in real time. RESULTS: Continuous in vitro evolution of an RNA ligase ribozyme was carried out in the presence of a DNA enzyme that was capable of cleaving, and thereby inactivating, the ribozyme. The DNA concentration was increased steadily over 33.5 hours of evolution, reaching a final concentration that would have been sufficient to inactivate the starting population in one second. The evolved population of ribozymes developed resistance to the DNA enzyme, reducing their vulnerability to cleavage by 2000-fold but retaining their own catalytic function. Based on sequencing and kinetic analysis of the ribozymes, two mechanisms are proposed for this resistance. One involves three nucleotide substitutions, together with two compensatory mutations, that alter the site at which the DNA enzyme binds the ribozyme. The other involves enhancement of the ribozyme's ability to bind its own substrate in a way that protects it from cleavage by the DNA enzyme. CONCLUSIONS: The ability to direct the evolution of an enzyme's biochemical properties in response to the behavior of another macromolecule provides insight into the evolution of resistance and may be useful in developing enzymes with novel or enhanced function.

  9. Molecular diversity and functional evolution of scorpion potassium channel toxins.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Shunyi; Peigneur, Steve; Gao, Bin; Luo, Lan; Jin, Di; Zhao, Yong; Tytgat, Jan

    2011-02-01

    Scorpion toxins affecting K(+) channels (KTxs) represent important pharmacological tools and potential drug candidates. Here, we report molecular characterization of seven new KTxs in the scorpion Mesobuthus eupeus by cDNA cloning combined with biochemical approaches. Comparative modeling supports that all these KTxs share a conserved cysteine-stabilized α-helix/β-sheet structural motif despite the differences in protein sequence and size. We investigated functional diversification of two orthologous α-KTxs (MeuTXKα1 from M. eupeus and BmP01 from Mesobuthus martensii) by comparing their K(+) channel-blocking activities. Pharmacologically, MeuTXKα1 selectively blocked Kv1.3 channel with nanomolar affinity (IC(50), 2.36 ± 0.9 nM), whereas only 35% of Kv1.1 currents were inhibited at 3 μM concentration, showing more than 1271-fold selectivity for Kv1.3 over Kv1.1. This peptide displayed a weak effect on Drosophila Shaker channel and no activity on Kv1.2, Kv1.4, Kv1.5, Kv1.6, and human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) K(+) channels. Although BmB01 and MeuTXKα1 have a similar channel spectrum, their affinity and selectivity for these channels largely varies. In comparison with MeuTXKα1, BmP01 only exhibits a submicromolar affinity (IC(50), 133.72 ± 10.98 nM) for Kv1.3, showing 57-fold less activity than MeuTXKα1. Moreover, it lacks the ability to distinguish between Kv1.1 and Kv1.3. We also found that MeuTXKα1 inhibited the proliferation of activated T cells induced by phorbol myristate acetate and ionomycin at micromolar concentrations. Our results demonstrate that accelerated evolution drives affinity variations of orthologous α-KTxs on Kv channels and indicate that MeuTXKα1 is a promising candidate to develop an immune modulation agent for human autoimmune diseases. PMID:20889474

  10. Darwinian hydrology: can the methodology Charles Darwin pioneered help hydrologic science?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harman, C.; Troch, P. A.

    2013-05-01

    There have been repeated calls for a Darwinian approach to hydrologic science or for a synthesis of Darwinian and Newtonian approaches, to deepen understanding the hydrologic system in the larger landscape context, and so develop a better basis for predictions now and in an uncertain future. But what exactly makes a Darwinian approach to hydrology "Darwinian"? While there have now been a number of discussions of Darwinian approaches, many referencing Harte (2002), the term is potentially a source of confusion while its connections to Darwin remain allusive rather than explicit. Here we discuss the methods that Charles Darwin pioneered to understand a variety of complex systems in terms of their historical processes of change. We suggest that the Darwinian approach to hydrology follows his lead by focusing attention on the patterns of variation in populations, seeking hypotheses that explain these patterns in terms of the mechanisms and conditions that determine their historical development, using deduction and modeling to derive consequent hypotheses that follow from a proposed explanation, and critically testing these hypotheses against new observations. It is not sufficient to catalogue the patterns or predict them statistically. Nor is it sufficient for the explanations to amount to a "just-so" story not subject to critical analysis. Darwin's theories linked present-day variation to mechanisms that operated over history, and could be independently test and falsified by comparing new observations to the predictions of corollary hypotheses they generated. With a Darwinian framework in mind it is easy to see that a great deal of hydrologic research has already been done that contributes to a Darwinian hydrology - whether deliberately or not. The various heuristic methods that Darwin used to develop explanatory theories - extrapolating mechanisms, space for time substitution, and looking for signatures of history - have direct application in hydrologic science. Some

  11. Mars life: how Darwinian pressures might have shaped its form and function

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Levin, Gilbert V.

    2005-09-01

    The possible existence of life on Mars is now gaining credence. Evidence consistent with or supporting the presence of extant microbial life, as reported by a life detection experiment on the Viking Mission in 1976, has been rapidly accumulating from spacecraft orbital and lander operations, and from terrestrial observations. Vast oceans of frozen water near the planet's surface are being discovered, with strong indications of recent or present liquid flows, and theory and laboratory experiment have demonstrated that liquid water should exist on the surface of Mars. The biosphere on Earth has been extended into extreme environments until recently thought inimical to life. Places void of life have become rare. No life requirement has been found lacking on Mars. It is possible that, by the time of this 50th Anniversary SPIE Meeting, the paradigm shift accepting life beyond the Earth may have been made. Mankind will then emerge from its ancient fear of loneliness into a new fear of anticipation of what that still unidentified life might portend. The author attempts to apply Darwinian principles of evolution to life on Mars under the selection pressures, opportunities and constraints that have been imposed by past and present Martian conditions. Starting with the type of cell believed to have begun the evolutionary process on Earth, he speculates on what the current life on Mars may be like in form and function, including what threat or promise it might hold for Earth life.

  12. Cognitive phylogenies, the Darwinian logic of descent, and the inadequacy of cladistic thinking

    PubMed Central

    Theofanopoulou, Constantina; Boeckx, Cedric

    2015-01-01

    There has been a reappraisal of phylogenetic issues in cognitive science, as reconstructing cognitive phylogenies has been considered a key for unveiling the cognitive novelties that set the stage for what makes humans special. In our opinion, the studies made until now have approached cognitive phylogenies in a non-optimal way, and we wish to both highlight their problems, drawing on recent considerations in philosophy of biology. The inadequacy of current visions on cognitive phylogenies stems from the influence of the traditional “linear cladograms,” according to which every seemingly new or more sophisticated feature of a cognitive mechanism, viewed as a novelty, is represented as a node on top of the old and shared elements. We claim that this kind of cladograms does not succeed in depicting the complexity with which traits are distributed across species and, furthermore, that the labels of the nodes of these traditional representational systems fail to capture the “tinkering” nature of evolution. We argue that if we are to conceive of cognitive mechanisms in a multi-dimensional, bottom-up perspective, in accordance with the Darwinian logic of descent, we should rather focus on decomposing these mechanisms into lower-level, generic functions, which have the additional advantage of being implementable in neural matter, which ultimately produces cognition. Doing so renders current constructions of cognitive phylogenies otiose. PMID:26528479

  13. The physics of evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eigen, Manfred

    1988-12-01

    The Darwinian concept of evolution through natural selection has been revised and put on a solid physical basis, in a form which applies to self-replicable macromolecules. Two new concepts are introduced: sequence space and quasi-species. Evolutionary change in the DNA- or RNA-sequence of a gene can be mapped as a trajectory in a sequence space of dimension ν, where ν corresponds to the number of changeable positions in the genomic sequence. Emphasis, however, is shifted from the single surviving wildtype, a single point in the sequence space, to the complex structure of the mutant distribution that constitutes the quasi-species. Selection is equivalent to an establishment of the quasi-species in a localized region of sequence space, subject to threshold conditions for the error rate and sequence length. Arrival of a new mutant may violate the local threshold condition and thereby lead to a displacement of the quasi-species into a different region of sequence space. This transformation is similar to a phase transition; the dynamical equations that describe the quase-species have been shown to be analogous to those of the two-dimensional Ising model of ferromagnetism. The occurrence of a selectively advantageous mutant is biased by the particulars of the quasi-species distribution, whose mutants are populated according to their fitness relative to that of the wild-type. Inasmuch as fitness regions are connected (like mountain ridges) the evolutionary trajectory is guided to regions of optimal fitness. Evolution experiments in test tubes confirm this modification of the simple chance and law nature of the Darwinian concept. The results of the theory can also be applied to the construction of a machine that provides optimal conditions for a rapid evolution of functionally active macromolecules. An introduction to the physics of molecular evolution by the author has appeared recently.1 Detailed studies of the kinetics and mechanisms of replication of RNA, the most

  14. The Eyes Have It: A Problem-Based Learning Exercise in Molecular Evolution

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    White, Harold B.

    2007-01-01

    Molecular evolution provides an interesting context in which to use problem-based learning because it integrates a variety of topics in biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. This three-stage problem for advanced students deals with the structure, multiple functions, and properties of lactate dehydrogenase isozymes, and the related…

  15. Sexual disorders in the context of Darwinian psychiatry.

    PubMed

    Troisi, A

    2003-01-01

    The thesis of this article is that a Darwinian perspective can provide medical sexology with a new theoretical framework which is useful to clarify the relationship between the evolutionary bases of human sexuality and the sex-specific vulnerability to different sexual disorders. Evolutionary theory predicts that the relative parental investment of the sexes in their offspring is associated with different mating strategies in males and females. Individuals of the sex that invests more in offspring should be more discriminative in their sexual interactions because the costs of making a poor mate choice are greater for the highest-investing sex. Because in Homo sapiens, as in many other mammal species, the higher-investing sex is the female sex, women are more discriminative in their sexual preferences and less promiscuous than men. Accordingly, the epidemiology of sexual disorders can be expected to reflect sex differences in evolved mating strategies and sexual psychology. Sexual disorders that represent extreme variants of a mating strategy involving greater voluntary control over mate choice, accurate assessment of the quality of potential mates, and a tendency toward sexual restraint should be more prevalent among women. In contrast, sexual disorders that represent extreme variants of a mating strategy involving responsiveness to a variety of sexual stimuli and a tendency toward promiscuity should occur more frequently among men. Clinical data support these predictions. PMID:12834022

  16. Schizophrenia, Psychiatric Genetics, and Darwinian Psychiatry: An Evolutionary Framework

    PubMed Central

    Pearlson, Godfrey D.; Folley, Bradley S.

    2008-01-01

    The evolutionary origins of one of the most dramatic and seemingly deleterious behavioral phenotypes, the syndrome known as schizophrenia, are mysterious. Schizophrenia occurs in all cultures and is inherited. Although most phenotypes are said to be “selected for” based on adaptive qualities, it is difficult to understand how the genetic basis of schizophrenia could have operated under a similar framework. This has lead several theorists analyzing the proposed evolutionary origins of other disease states to that of schizophrenia. To date, several models have been applied. We have tried to conceptualize schizophrenia in a compensatory advantage framework whereby incomplete penetrance of the full disorder, or alternatively, the inheritance of risk alleles insufficient in number to manifest as the classic clinical syndrome, may manifest as a behavioral phenotype with adaptive advantages (eg, creative behavior or novel illuminating ideas). The idea that even full penetrance can also be advantageous has been offered as applied to religious experience and ancient social standing, but is unlikely. Can complex behavioral phenotypes such as schizophrenia, and particularly those that seem purely deleterious, be explained by mechanisms of Darwinian psychiatry? Can models from other disease classes be applied successfully to schizophrenia? Such ideas have generated intense speculation, but often in the absence of testable models. In this article, we will examine some of these proposed ideas and offer suggestions for future research. PMID:18033774

  17. Schizophrenia, psychiatric genetics, and Darwinian psychiatry: an evolutionary framework.

    PubMed

    Pearlson, Godfrey D; Folley, Bradley S

    2008-07-01

    The evolutionary origins of one of the most dramatic and seemingly deleterious behavioral phenotypes, the syndrome known as schizophrenia, are mysterious. Schizophrenia occurs in all cultures and is inherited. Although most phenotypes are said to be "selected for" based on adaptive qualities, it is difficult to understand how the genetic basis of schizophrenia could have operated under a similar framework. This has lead several theorists analyzing the proposed evolutionary origins of other disease states to that of schizophrenia. To date, several models have been applied. We have tried to conceptualize schizophrenia in a compensatory advantage framework whereby incomplete penetrance of the full disorder, or alternatively, the inheritance of risk alleles insufficient in number to manifest as the classic clinical syndrome, may manifest as a behavioral phenotype with adaptive advantages (eg, creative behavior or novel illuminating ideas). The idea that even full penetrance can also be advantageous has been offered as applied to religious experience and ancient social standing, but is unlikely. Can complex behavioral phenotypes such as schizophrenia, and particularly those that seem purely deleterious, be explained by mechanisms of Darwinian psychiatry? Can models from other disease classes be applied successfully to schizophrenia? Such ideas have generated intense speculation, but often in the absence of testable models. In this article, we will examine some of these proposed ideas and offer suggestions for future research. PMID:18033774

  18. Non-Darwinian estimation: My ancestors, my genes' ancestors

    PubMed Central

    Weiss, Kenneth M.; Long, Jeffrey C.

    2009-01-01

    There is widespread interest in characterizing the organization of human genetic variation around the world from a population perspective. Related to this are attempts to describe the pattern of genetic variation in the human species generally, including “recreational” genomics, the genome-based estimation of the ancestry of individuals. These approaches rest on subtle concepts of variation, time, and ancestry that are perhaps not widely appreciated. They share the idea that there are, or were, discrete panmictic human populations such that every person is either a member of such a population or is an admixed descendant of them. Ancestry fraction estimation is biased by assumptions about past and present human population structure, as when we trace ancestry to hypothetical unmixed ancestral populations, or assign an individual's ancestry to continental populations that are indistinguishable from classical “races.” Attempts to identify even individuals' local subpopulations are less precise than most (geneticists included) expect, because that is usually based on a small portion of a person's ancestry, relative to the much larger pool of comparably related ancestors. It is easier to show that two people have some relationship than to show who or where the actual ancestor was. There is an important distinction between individuals' demographic ancestry and the ancestry of their genes. Despite superficial appearances, these interpretations of genetic data are often based on typological rather than Darwinian thinking, raising important issues about the questions that are actually being asked. PMID:19411595

  19. Impact of the human egalitarian syndrome on darwinian selection mechanics.

    PubMed

    Boehm, C

    1997-07-01

    With nothing more than kin selection and reciprocal altruism theories to work with, the selection basis of human degrees of altruism and cooperation is often difficult to explain. However, during our prehistoric foraging phase, a highly stable egalitarian syndrome arose that had profound effects on Darwinian selection mechanics. The band's insistence on egalitarianism seriously damped male status rivalry and thereby reduced the intensity of selection within the group by reducing phenotypic variation at that level, while powerful social pressure to make decisions consensual at the band level had a similar effect. Consensual decisions also had another effect: they increased variation between groups because entire bands enacted their subsistence strategies collectively and the strategies varied between bands. By reducing the intensity of individual selection and boosting group effects, these behaviors provided a unique opportunity for altruistic genes to be established and maintained. In addition, the egalitarian custom of socially isolating or actively punishing lazy or cheating noncooperators reduced the free-rider problem. In combination, these phenotypic effects facilitated selection of altruistic genes in spite of some limited free riding. This selection scenario remained in place for thousands of generations, and the result was a shift in the balance of power between individual and group selection in favor of group effects. This new balance today is reflected in an ambivalent human nature that exhibits substantial altruism in addition to selfishness and nepotism. PMID:18811308

  20. Darwinian drift: Effects of Wake Vortices and Multiple Obstacles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melkoumian, Sergei; Protas, Bartosz

    2015-11-01

    When a body passes through an unbounded fluid, it induces a net displacement of fluid particles. The difference between the initial and final positions of a fluid particle is defined as the Darwinian drift and plays an important role in the characterization of the stirring occurring in multiphase flows and in the context of biogenic mixing. Traditional studies of drift have mainly focused on single obstacles moving in a potential flow. In the present investigation we consider the effect of wake vorticity, represented by a pair of Föppl point vortices, and the combined effect of multiple obstacles. The drift in various configurations is determined using methods of complex analysis and careful numerical computations. It is demonstrated that, while the total drift increases with the size of the wake for large vortex strengths, it is actually decreased for small circulation values. We also discuss how the interaction of two obstacles affects the drift in comparison to the case of two isolated obstacles. In particular, we identify the lower and upper bound on the drift due to two identical cylinders. In certain cases our results are supported by asymptotic analysis. A physical explanation of the observed affects is offered in terms of the trajectories of individual particles.

  1. Hydrophobic bile acids, genomic instability, Darwinian selection, and colon carcinogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Payne, Claire M; Bernstein, Carol; Dvorak, Katerina; Bernstein, Harris

    2008-01-01

    Sporadic colon cancer is caused predominantly by dietary factors. We have selected bile acids as a focus of this review since high levels of hydrophobic bile acids accompany a Western-style diet, and play a key role in colon carcinogenesis. We describe how bile acid-induced stresses cause cell death in susceptible cells, contribute to genomic instability in surviving cells, impose Darwinian selection on survivors and enhance initiation and progression to colon cancer. The most likely major mechanisms by which hydrophobic bile acids induce stresses on cells (DNA damage, endoplasmic reticulum stress, mitochondrial damage) are described. Persistent exposure of colon epithelial cells to hydrophobic bile acids can result in the activation of pro-survival stress-response pathways, and the modulation of numerous genes/proteins associated with chromosome maintenance and mitosis. The multiple mechanisms by which hydrophobic bile acids contribute to genomic instability are discussed, and include oxidative DNA damage, p53 and other mutations, micronuclei formation and aneuploidy. Since bile acids and oxidative stress decrease DNA repair proteins, an increase in DNA damage and increased genomic instability through this mechanism is also described. This review provides a mechanistic explanation for the important link between a Western-style diet and associated increased levels of colon cancer. PMID:21677822

  2. [The coast of Northeast Brazil as a Darwinian scientific object: the explorations of John Casper Branner, 1899-1911].

    PubMed

    de Oliveira, Almir Leal

    2014-01-01

    John Casper Branner, a US geologist, had a long history of research in Brazil. The article analyzes his exploration of the geology of the coast of Northeast Brazil during the Branner-Agassiz (1899) and Stanford (1911) expeditions. In the findings from both voyages, Branner characterized the geomorphology of sedimentary basins, sandstone reefs, and coral reefs from a Darwinian evolutionary perspective, blending natural history's model of field research with the practices of modern biology and dynamic geology. He based his interpretation of the evolution of the geological formation on physical and chemical factors. Zoological studies identified the place of evolutionary variation and adaptations of isolated marine species as an auxiliary factor in natural selection. PMID:25338034

  3. Contributions of experimental protobiogenesis to the theory of evolution

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fox, S. W.

    1976-01-01

    Inferences from experiments in protobiogenesis are examined as a forward extension of the theory of evolutionary biology. A nondiscontinuous, intraconsistent theory of general evolution embracing both protobiology and biology is outlined. This overview emphasizes Darwinian selection in the later stages of evolution, and stereochemical molecular selection in some of its earlier stages. It incorporates the concept of limitation of the scope of evolution by internal constraints on variation, based on the argument that internally limiting constraints observed in experiments with molecules are operative in organisms, if chemical processes occur within biological processes and biological processes are assumed to be exponentializations of chemical processes. Major evolutionary events might have occurred by rapid self-assembly processes analogous to those observed in the formation of phase-separated microspheres from amorphous powder or supersaturated solutions.

  4. Molecular evolution of the duplicated TFIIAγ genes in Oryzeae and its relatives

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Gene duplication provides raw genetic materials for evolutionary novelty and adaptation. The evolutionary fate of duplicated transcription factor genes is less studied although transcription factor gene plays important roles in many biological processes. TFIIAγ is a small subunit of TFIIA that is one of general transcription factors required by RNA polymerase II. Previous studies identified two TFIIAγ-like genes in rice genome and found that these genes either conferred resistance to rice bacterial blight or could be induced by pathogen invasion, raising the question as to their functional divergence and evolutionary fates after gene duplication. Results We reconstructed the evolutionary history of the TFIIAγ genes from main lineages of angiosperms and demonstrated that two TFIIAγ genes (TFIIAγ1 and TFIIAγ5) arose from a whole genome duplication that happened in the common ancestor of grasses. Likelihood-based analyses with branch, codon, and branch-site models showed no evidence of positive selection but a signature of relaxed selective constraint after the TFIIAγ duplication. In particular, we found that the nonsynonymous/synonymous rate ratio (ω = dN/dS) of the TFIIAγ1 sequences was two times higher than that of TFIIAγ5 sequences, indicating highly asymmetric rates of protein evolution in rice tribe and its relatives, with an accelerated rate of TFIIAγ1 gene. Our expression data and EST database search further indicated that after whole genome duplication, the expression of TFIIAγ1 gene was significantly reduced while TFIIAγ5 remained constitutively expressed and maintained the ancestral role as a subunit of the TFIIA complex. Conclusion The evolutionary fate of TFIIAγ duplicates is not consistent with the neofunctionalization model that predicts that one of the duplicated genes acquires a new function because of positive Darwinian selection. Instead, we suggest that subfunctionalization might be involved in TFIIAγ evolution in grasses

  5. MOLECULAR PHYLOGENY AND EVOLUTION OF MOSQUITO PARASTIC MICROSPORIDIA (MICROSPORIDIA: AMBLYOSPORIDAE)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Amblyospora and related species were isolated from mosquitoes, black flies and copepods and the small subunit ribosomal DNA gene was sequenced. The comparative phylogenetic analysis for this study shows co-evolution agreement between the mosquito host genera and Amblyospora parasite species with a ...

  6. "Eve" in Africa: Human Evolution Meets Molecular Biology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Seager, Robert D.

    1990-01-01

    Presented is a discussion of recent evidence on the evolution of human forms on earth gathered and evaluated using mitochondrial DNA techniques. Theories regarding the possibility that a common female ancestor existed in Africa about 200,000 years ago are discussed. A list of teaching aids is provided. (CW)

  7. On the Stability and Evolution of Isolated Molecular Clouds

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Langer, W.; Nelson, R.

    1998-01-01

    We present the results of three dimensional hydrodynamic models of evolving, isolated, low mass, quiescent clouds and Bok gobules, where the interstellar radiation field plays an important role in the thermal and chemical evolution, and thermal pressure provides dominant support against gravitational collapse.

  8. Extracellular Matrix Molecular Remodeling in Human Liver Fibrosis Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Baiocchini, Andrea; Montaldo, Claudia; Conigliaro, Alice; Grimaldi, Alessio; Correani, Virginia; Mura, Francesco; Ciccosanti, Fabiola; Rotiroti, Nicolina; Brenna, Alessia; Montalbano, Marzia; D’Offizi, Gianpiero; Capobianchi, Maria Rosaria; Alessandro, Riccardo; Piacentini, Mauro; Schininà, Maria Eugenia; Maras, Bruno; Del Nonno, Franca; Tripodi, Marco; Mancone, Carmine

    2016-01-01

    Chronic liver damage leads to pathological accumulation of ECM proteins (liver fibrosis). Comprehensive characterization of the human ECM molecular composition is essential for gaining insights into the mechanisms of liver disease. To date, studies of ECM remodeling in human liver diseases have been hampered by the unavailability of purified ECM. Here, we developed a decellularization method to purify ECM scaffolds from human liver tissues. Histological and electron microscopy analyses demonstrated that the ECM scaffolds, devoid of plasma and cellular components, preserved the three-dimensional ECM structure and zonal distribution of ECM components. This method has been then applied on 57 liver biopsies of HCV-infected patients at different stages of liver fibrosis according to METAVIR classification. Label-free nLC-MS/MS proteomics and computation biology were performed to analyze the ECM molecular composition in liver fibrosis progression, thus unveiling protein expression signatures specific for the HCV-related liver fibrotic stages. In particular, the ECM molecular composition of liver fibrosis was found to involve dynamic changes in matrix stiffness, flexibility and density related to the dysregulation of predominant collagen, elastic fibers and minor components with both structural and signaling properties. This study contributes to the understanding of the molecular bases underlying ECM remodeling in liver fibrosis and suggests new molecular targets for fibrolytic strategies. PMID:26998606

  9. Temporal scaling of molecular evolution in primates and other mammals.

    PubMed

    Gingerich, P D

    1986-05-01

    Molecular clocks are routinely tested for linearity using a relative rate test and routinely calibrated against the geological time scale using a single or average paleontologically determined time of divergence between living taxa. The relative rate test is a test of parallel rate equality, not a test of rate constancy. Temporal scaling provides a test of rates, where scaling coefficients of 1.0 (isochrony) represent stochastic rate constancy. The fossil record of primates and other mammals is now known in sufficient detail to provide several independent divergence times for major taxonomic groups. Molecular difference should scale negatively or isochronically (scaling coefficients less than 1.0) with divergence time: where two or more divergence times are available, molecular difference appears to scale positively (scaling coefficient greater than 1.0). A minimum of four divergence times are required for adequate statistical power in testing the linear model: scaling is significantly nonlinear and positive in six of 11 published investigations meeting this criterion. All groups studied show some slowdown in rates of molecular change over Cenozoic time. The break from constant or increasing rates during the Mesozoic to decreasing rates during the Cenozoic appears to coincide with extraordinary diversification of placental mammals at the beginning of this era. High rates of selectively neutral molecular change may be concentrated in such discrete events of evolutionary diversification. PMID:3444400

  10. Evolution and Molecular Control of Hybrid Incompatibility in Plants.

    PubMed

    Chen, Chen; E, Zhiguo; Lin, Hong-Xuan

    2016-01-01

    Postzygotic reproductive isolation (RI) plays an important role in speciation. According to the stage at which it functions and the symptoms it displays, postzygotic RI can be called hybrid inviability, hybrid weakness or necrosis, hybrid sterility, or hybrid breakdown. In this review, we summarized new findings about hybrid incompatibilities in plants, most of which are from studies on Arabidopsis and rice. Recent progress suggests that hybrid incompatibility is a by-product of co-evolution either with "parasitic" selfish elements in the genome or with invasive microbes in the natural environment. We discuss the environmental influences on the expression of hybrid incompatibility and the possible effects of environment-dependent hybrid incompatibility on sympatric speciation. We also discuss the role of domestication on the evolution of hybrid incompatibilities. PMID:27563306

  11. Evolution and Molecular Control of Hybrid Incompatibility in Plants

    PubMed Central

    Chen, Chen; E, Zhiguo; Lin, Hong-Xuan

    2016-01-01

    Postzygotic reproductive isolation (RI) plays an important role in speciation. According to the stage at which it functions and the symptoms it displays, postzygotic RI can be called hybrid inviability, hybrid weakness or necrosis, hybrid sterility, or hybrid breakdown. In this review, we summarized new findings about hybrid incompatibilities in plants, most of which are from studies on Arabidopsis and rice. Recent progress suggests that hybrid incompatibility is a by-product of co-evolution either with “parasitic” selfish elements in the genome or with invasive microbes in the natural environment. We discuss the environmental influences on the expression of hybrid incompatibility and the possible effects of environment-dependent hybrid incompatibility on sympatric speciation. We also discuss the role of domestication on the evolution of hybrid incompatibilities. PMID:27563306

  12. Structural limits for evolutive capacities in complex molecular systems.

    PubMed

    Bergareche, A M; Ostolaza, J F

    1990-01-01

    The possibilities of evolution for a system with and without a code of translation from nucleic acids into proteins are evaluated. Our interest is mainly centred on the enzymatic RNA case since this molecule has, at the same time, reproductive and functional properties. After scanning the evolutive capacities of the enzymatic RNAs, including the possibility to play the role of "synthetase" which would match nucleic acids with amino acids as a transition step towards a code, we will try to show that due to their own functional limitative factors, the matching system (code) is necessary. This would be the only way to transform the formal complexity--complexity which has not entered into action before the translation process--into functional information to drive the instructive self-reproductive process. Once this stage is reached, the system could evolve without a limit. PMID:1707552

  13. Brassinosteroid action in flowering plants: a Darwinian perspective

    PubMed Central

    Kutschera, Ulrich; Wang, Zhi-Yong

    2012-01-01

    The year 2012 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's first botanical book, on the fertilization of orchids (1862), wherein he described pollen grains and outlined his evolutionary principles with respect to plant research. Five decades later, the growth-promoting effect of extracts of Orchid pollen on coleoptile elongation was documented. These studies led to the discovery of a new class of phytohormones, the brassinosteroids (BRs) that were isolated from rapeseed (Brassica napus) pollen. These growth-promoting steroids, which regulate height, fertility, and seed-filling in crop plants such as rice (Oryza sativa), also induce stress- and disease resistance in green algae and angiosperms. The origin and current status of BR-research is described here, with reference to BR-action and -signal transduction, and it is shown that modern high-yield rice varieties with erect leaves are deficient in endogenous BRs. Since brassinosteroids induce pathogen resistance in rice plants and hence can suppress rice blast- and bacterial blight-diseases, genetic manipulation of BR-biosynthesis or -perception may be a means to increase crop production. Basic research on BR activity in plants, such as Arabidopsis and rice, has the potential to increase crop yields further as part of a 21th century ‘green biotech-revolution’ that can be traced back to Darwin's classical breeding experiments. It is concluded that ‘Nothing in brassinosteroid research makes sense except in the light of Darwinian evolution’ and the value of basic science is highlighted, with reference to the genetic engineering of better food crops that may become resistant to a variety of plant diseases. PMID:22547659

  14. Genetic Diversity and Molecular Evolution of Chinese Waxy Maize Germplasm

    PubMed Central

    Zheng, Hongjian; Wang, Hui; Yang, Hua; Wu, Jinhong; Shi, Biao; Cai, Run; Xu, Yunbi; Wu, Aizhong; Luo, Lijun

    2013-01-01

    Waxy maize (Zea mays L. var. certaina Kulesh), with many excellent characters in terms of starch composition and economic value, has grown in China for a long history and its production has increased dramatically in recent decades. However, the evolution and origin of waxy maize still remains unclear. We studied the genetic diversity of Chinese waxy maize including typical landraces and inbred lines by SSR analysis and the results showed a wide genetic diversity in the Chinese waxy maize germplasm. We analyzed the origin and evolution of waxy maize by sequencing 108 samples, and downloading 52 sequences from GenBank for the waxy locus in a number of accessions from genus Zea. A sharp reduction of nucleotide diversity and significant neutrality tests (Tajima’s D and Fu and Li’s F*) were observed at the waxy locus in Chinese waxy maize but not in nonglutinous maize. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that Chinese waxy maize originated from the cultivated flint maize and most of the modern waxy maize inbred lines showed a distinct independent origin and evolution process compared with the germplasm from Southwest China. The results indicated that an agronomic trait can be quickly improved to meet production demand by selection. PMID:23818949

  15. Exploiting models of molecular evolution to efficiently direct protein engineering.

    PubMed

    Cole, Megan F; Gaucher, Eric A

    2011-02-01

    Directed evolution and protein engineering approaches used to generate novel or enhanced biomolecular function often use the evolutionary sequence diversity of protein homologs to rationally guide library design. To fully capture this sequence diversity, however, libraries containing millions of variants are often necessary. Screening libraries of this size is often undesirable due to inaccuracies of high-throughput assays, costs, and time constraints. The ability to effectively cull sequence diversity while still generating the functional diversity within a library thus holds considerable value. This is particularly relevant when high-throughput assays are not amenable to select/screen for certain biomolecular properties. Here, we summarize our recent attempts to develop an evolution-guided approach, Reconstructing Evolutionary Adaptive Paths (REAP), for directed evolution and protein engineering that exploits phylogenetic and sequence analyses to identify amino acid substitutions that are likely to alter or enhance function of a protein. To demonstrate the utility of this technique, we highlight our previous work with DNA polymerases in which a REAP-designed small library was used to identify a DNA polymerase capable of accepting non-standard nucleosides. We anticipate that the REAP approach will be used in the future to facilitate the engineering of biopolymers with expanded functions and will thus have a significant impact on the developing field of 'evolutionary synthetic biology'. PMID:21132281

  16. Evolution & Phylogenetic Analysis: Classroom Activities for Investigating Molecular & Morphological Concepts

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Franklin, Wilfred A.

    2010-01-01

    In a flexible multisession laboratory, students investigate concepts of phylogenetic analysis at both the molecular and the morphological level. Students finish by conducting their own analysis on a collection of skeletons representing the major phyla of vertebrates, a collection of primate skulls, or a collection of hominid skulls.

  17. Molecular Evolution of the Plant SLT Protein Family

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The products of the sodium/lithium tolerance (Slt) genes are proteins that have molecular chaperone activity in vitro. The results from extensive database analyses indicate that SLT-orthologous proteins are present only in seed plants (Spermatopsida). Herein we describe the sequence analysis of th...

  18. The Coevolution of Phycobilisomes: Molecular Structure Adapting to Functional Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Fei; Qin, Song; Wang, Yin-Chu

    2011-01-01

    Phycobilisome is the major light-harvesting complex in cyanobacteria and red alga. It consists of phycobiliproteins and their associated linker peptides which play key role in absorption and unidirectional transfer of light energy and the stability of the whole complex system, respectively. Former researches on the evolution among PBPs and linker peptides had mainly focused on the phylogenetic analysis and selective evolution. Coevolution is the change that the conformation of one residue is interrupted by mutation and a compensatory change selected for in its interacting partner. Here, coevolutionary analysis of allophycocyanin, phycocyanin, and phycoerythrin and covariation analysis of linker peptides were performed. Coevolution analyses reveal that these sites are significantly correlated, showing strong evidence of the functional and structural importance of interactions among these residues. According to interprotein coevolution analysis, less interaction was found between PBPs and linker peptides. Our results also revealed the correlations between the coevolution and adaptive selection in PBS were not directly related, but probably demonstrated by the sites coupled under physical-chemical interactions. PMID:21904470

  19. Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and habitat preference evolution of marsupials.

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Kieren J; Pratt, Renae C; Watson, Laura N; Gibb, Gillian C; Llamas, Bastien; Kasper, Marta; Edson, Janette; Hopwood, Blair; Male, Dean; Armstrong, Kyle N; Meyer, Matthias; Hofreiter, Michael; Austin, Jeremy; Donnellan, Stephen C; Lee, Michael S Y; Phillips, Matthew J; Cooper, Alan

    2014-09-01

    Marsupials exhibit great diversity in ecology and morphology. However, compared with their sister group, the placental mammals, our understanding of many aspects of marsupial evolution remains limited. We use 101 mitochondrial genomes and data from 26 nuclear loci to reconstruct a dated phylogeny including 97% of extant genera and 58% of modern marsupial species. This tree allows us to analyze the evolution of habitat preference and geographic distributions of marsupial species through time. We found a pattern of mesic-adapted lineages evolving to use more arid and open habitats, which is broadly consistent with regional climate and environmental change. However, contrary to the general trend, several lineages subsequently appear to have reverted from drier to more mesic habitats. Biogeographic reconstructions suggest that current views on the connectivity between Australia and New Guinea/Wallacea during the Miocene and Pliocene need to be revised. The antiquity of several endemic New Guinean clades strongly suggests a substantially older period of connection stretching back to the Middle Miocene and implies that New Guinea was colonized by multiple clades almost immediately after its principal formation. PMID:24881050

  20. Molecular cytogenetic dissection of human chromosomes 3 and 21 evolution

    PubMed Central

    Müller, S.; Stanyon, R.; Finelli, P.; Archidiacono, N.; Wienberg, J.

    2000-01-01

    Chromosome painting in placental mammalians illustrates that genome evolution is marked by chromosomal synteny conservation and that the association of chromosomes 3 and 21 may be the largest widely conserved syntenic block known for mammals. We studied intrachromosomal rearrangements of the syntenic block 3/21 by using probes derived from chromosomal subregions with a resolution of up to 10–15 Mbp. We demonstrate that the rearrangements visualized by chromosome painting, mostly translocations, are only a fraction of the actual chromosomal changes that have occurred during evolution. The ancestral segment order for both primates and carnivores is still found in some species in both orders. From the ancestral primate/carnivore condition an inversion is needed to derive the pig homolog, and a fission of chromosome 21 and a pericentric inversion is needed to derive the Bornean orangutan condition. Two overlapping inversions in the chromosome 3 homolog then would lead to the chromosome form found in humans and African apes. This reconstruction of the origin of human chromosome 3 contrasts with the generally accepted scenario derived from chromosome banding in which it was proposed that only one pericentric inversion was needed. From the ancestral form for Old World primates (now found in the Bornean orangutan) a pericentric inversion and centromere shift leads to the chromosome ancestral for all Old World monkeys. Intrachromosomal rearrangements, as shown here, make up a set of potentially plentiful and informative markers that can be used for phylogenetic reconstruction and a more refined comparative mapping of the genome. PMID:10618396

  1. Molecular Evolution of the TET Gene Family in Mammals

    PubMed Central

    Akahori, Hiromichi; Guindon, Stéphane; Yoshizaki, Sumio; Muto, Yoshinori

    2015-01-01

    Ten-eleven translocation (TET) proteins, a family of Fe2+- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenases, are involved in DNA demethylation. They also help regulate various cellular functions. Three TET paralogs have been identified (TET1, TET2, and TET3) in humans. This study focuses on the evolution of mammalian TET genes. Distinct patterns in TET1 and TET2 vs. TET3 were revealed by codon-based tests of positive selection. Results indicate that TET1 and TET2 genes have experienced positive selection more frequently than TET3 gene, and that the majority of codon sites evolved under strong negative selection. These findings imply that the selective pressure on TET3 may have been relaxed in several lineages during the course of evolution. Our analysis of convergent amino acid substitutions also supports the different evolutionary dynamics among TET gene subfamily members. All of the five amino acid sites that are inferred to have evolved under positive selection in the catalytic domain of TET2 are localized at the protein’s outer surface. The adaptive changes of these positively selected amino acid sites could be associated with dynamic interactions between other TET-interacting proteins, and positive selection thus appears to shift the regulatory scheme of TET enzyme function. PMID:26633372

  2. 'Molecules and monkeys': George Gaylord Simpson and the challenge of molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Aronson, Jay D

    2002-01-01

    In this paper, I analyze George Gaylord Simpson's response to the molecularization of evolutionary biology from his unique perspective as a paleontologist. I do so by exploring his views on early attempts to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among primates using molecular data. Particular attention is paid to Simpson's role in the evolutionary synthesis of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as his concerns about the rise of molecular biology as a powerful discipline and world-view in the 1960s. I argue that Simpson's belief in the supremacy of natural selection as the primary driving force of evolution, as well as his view that biology was a historical science that seeks ultimate causes and highlights contingency, prevented him from acknowledging that the study of molecular evolution was an inherently valuable part of the life sciences. PMID:15045833

  3. Molecular phylogeny analysis of fiddler crabs: test of the hypothesis of increasing behavioral complexity in evolution.

    PubMed Central

    Sturmbauer, C; Levinton, J S; Christy, J

    1996-01-01

    The current phylogenetic hypothesis for the evolution and biogeography of fiddler crabs relies on the assumption that complex behavioral traits are assumed to also be evolutionary derived. Indo-west Pacific fiddler crabs have simpler reproductive social behavior and are more marine and were thought to be ancestral to the more behaviorally complex and more terrestrial American species. It was also hypothesized that the evolution of more complex social and reproductive behavior was associated with the colonization of the higher intertidal zones. Our phylogenetic analysis, based upon a set of independent molecular characters, however, demonstrates how widely entrenched ideas about evolution and biogeography led to a reasonable, but apparently incorrect, conclusion about the evolutionary trends within this pantropical group of crustaceans. Species bearing the set of "derived traits" are phylogenetically ancestral, suggesting an alternative evolutionary scenario: the evolution of reproductive behavioral complexity in fiddler crabs may have arisen multiple times during their evolution. The evolution of behavioral complexity may have arisen by coopting of a series of other adaptations for high intertidal living and antipredator escape. A calibration of rates of molecular evolution from populations on either side of the Isthmus of Panama suggest a sequence divergence rate for 16S rRNA of 0.9% per million years. The divergence between the ancestral clade and derived forms is estimated to be approximately 22 million years ago, whereas the divergence between the American and Indo-west Pacific is estimated to be approximately 17 million years ago. Images Fig. 1 PMID:11607711

  4. Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD): Evolution and Progress

    PubMed Central

    Chopra, Arvind; Shan, Liang; Eckelman, W. C.; Leung, Kam; Latterner, Martin; Bryant, Stephen H.; Menkens, Anne

    2011-01-01

    The purpose of writing this review is to showcase the Molecular Imaging and Contrast Agent Database (MICAD; www.micad.nlm.nih.gov) to students, researchers and clinical investigators interested in the different aspects of molecular imaging. This database provides freely accessible, current, online scientific information regarding molecular imaging (MI) probes and contrast agents (CA) used for positron emission tomography, single-photon emission computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, x-ray/computed tomography, optical imaging and ultrasound imaging. Detailed information on >1000 agents in MICAD is provided in a chapter format and can be accessed through PubMed. Lists containing >4250 unique MI probes and CAs published in peer-reviewed journals and agents approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as a CSV file summarizing all chapters in the database can be downloaded from the MICAD homepage. Users can search for agents in MICAD on the basis of imaging modality, source of signal/contrast, agent or target category, preclinical or clinical studies, and text words. Chapters in MICAD describe the chemical characteristics (structures linked to PubChem), the in vitro and in vivo activities and other relevant information regarding an imaging agent. All references in the chapters have links to PubMed. A Supplemental Information Section in each chapter is available to share unpublished information regarding an agent. A Guest Author Program is available to facilitate rapid expansion of the database. Members of the imaging community registered with MICAD periodically receive an e-mail announcement (eAnnouncement) that lists new chapters uploaded to the database. Users of MICAD are encouraged to provide feedback, comments or suggestions for further improvement of the database by writing to the editors at: micad@nlm.nih.gov PMID:21989943

  5. Molecular genetics and the evolution of ultraviolet vision in vertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Shi, Yongsheng; Radlwimmer, F. Bernhard; Yokoyama, Shozo

    2001-01-01

    Despite the biological importance of UV vision, its molecular bases are not well understood. Here, we present evidence that UV vision in vertebrates is determined by eight specific amino acids in the UV pigments. Amino acid sequence analyses show that contemporary UV pigments inherited their UV sensitivities from the vertebrate ancestor by retaining most of these eight amino acids. In the avian lineage, the ancestral pigment lost UV sensitivity, but some descendants regained it by one amino acid change. Our results also strongly support the hypothesis that UV pigments have an unprotonated Schiff base-linked chromophore. PMID:11573008

  6. [Molecular Mechanism and Malignant Clonal Evolution of Multiple Myeloma].

    PubMed

    Ding, Fei; Zhu, Ping; Wu, Xue-Qiang

    2015-10-01

    Almost all patients with multiple myeloma (MM) have chromosomal translocation which can result in genetic variation. There are mainly five types of chromosomal translocations, involving the IGH gene translocation to 11q13 (CCND1), 4p16 (FGFR/MMSET), 16q23 (MAF), 6p21 (CCND3) and 20q11 (MAFB). It is possible that all IGH translocations converge on a common cell cycle signal pathway. Some MM develops through a multistep transformation from monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) to smoldering MM (SMM) and eventually to MM and plasma cell leukemia (PCL). Similarly to what Darwin proposed in the mid-19th century-random genetic variation and natural selection in the context of limited resources, MM clonal evolution follow branching and nonlinear mode. The failure of MM treatment is usually related with the minimal subclone which is hardly found at newlydiagnosed. PMID:26524068

  7. Molecular networks and the evolution of human cognitive specializations

    PubMed Central

    Fontenot, Miles; Konopka, Genevieve

    2014-01-01

    Inroads into elucidating the origins of human cognitive specializations have taken many forms, including genetic, genomic, anatomical, and behavioral assays that typically compare humans to non-human primates. While the integration of all of these approaches is essential for ultimately understanding human cognition, here, we review the usefulness of coexpression network analysis for specifically addressing this question. An increasing number of studies have incorporated coexpression networks into brain expression studies comparing species, disease versus control tissue, brain regions, or developmental time periods. A clearer picture has emerged of the key genes driving brain evolution, as well as the developmental and regional contributions of gene expression patterns important for normal brain development and those misregulated in cognitive diseases. PMID:25212263

  8. Molecular evolution of peste des petits ruminants virus.

    PubMed

    Muniraju, Murali; Munir, Muhammad; Parthiban, AravindhBabu R; Banyard, Ashley C; Bao, Jingyue; Wang, Zhiliang; Ayebazibwe, Chrisostom; Ayelet, Gelagay; El Harrak, Mehdi; Mahapatra, Mana; Libeau, Geneviève; Batten, Carrie; Parida, Satya

    2014-12-01

    Despite safe and efficacious vaccines against peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV), this virus has emerged as the cause of a highly contagious disease with serious economic consequences for small ruminant agriculture across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. We used complete and partial genome sequences of all 4 lineages of the virus to investigate evolutionary and epidemiologic dynamics of PPRV. A Bayesian phylogenetic analysis of all PPRV lineages mapped the time to most recent common ancestor and initial divergence of PPRV to a lineage III isolate at the beginning of 20th century. A phylogeographic approach estimated the probability for root location of an ancestral PPRV and individual lineages as being Nigeria for PPRV, Senegal for lineage I, Nigeria/Ghana for lineage II, Sudan for lineage III, and India for lineage IV. Substitution rates are critical parameters for understanding virus evolution because restrictions in genetic variation can lead to lower adaptability and pathogenicity. PMID:25418782

  9. Molecular evolution and phylogeny of dengue-4 viruses.

    PubMed

    Lanciotti, R S; Gubler, D J; Trent, D W

    1997-09-01

    Nucleotide sequences of the envelope protein genes of 19 geographically and temporally distinct dengue (DEN)-4 viruses were determined. Nucleic acid sequence comparison revealed that the identity among the DEN-4 viruses was greater than 92%. Similarity among deduced amino acids was between 96 and 100%; in most cases identical amino acid substitutions occurred among viruses from similar geographical regions. Alignment of nucleic acid sequences followed by parsimony analysis generated phylogenetic trees, which indicated that geographically independent evolution of DEN-4 viruses had occurred. DEN-4 viruses were separated into two genetically distinct subtypes (genotypes). Genotype-1 contains viruses from the Philippines, Thailand and Sri Lanka; genotype-2 consists of viruses from Indonesia, Tahiti, the Caribbean Islands (Puerto Rico, Dominica) and Central and South America. PMID:9292015

  10. Glutamine synthetase gene evolution: a good molecular clock.

    PubMed Central

    Pesole, G; Bozzetti, M P; Lanave, C; Preparata, G; Saccone, C

    1991-01-01

    Glutamine synthetase (EC 6.3.1.2) gene evolution in various animals, plants, and bacteria was evaluated by a general stationary Markov model. The evolutionary process proved to be unexpectedly regular even for a time span as long as that between the divergence of prokaryotes from eukaryotes. This enabled us to draw phylogenetic trees for species whose phylogeny cannot be easily reconstructed from the fossil record. Our calculation of the times of divergence of the various organelle-specific enzymes led us to hypothesize that the pea and bean chloroplast genes for these enzymes originated from the duplication of nuclear genes as a result of the different metabolic needs of the various species. Our data indicate that the duplication of plastid glutamine synthetase genes occurred long after the endosymbiotic events that produced the organelles themselves. PMID:1671172

  11. Gibberellin Receptor GID1: Gibberellin Recognition and Molecular Evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kato, Hiroaki; Sato, Tomomi; Ueguchi-Tanaka, Miyako

    Gibberellins (GAs) are phytohormones essential for many developmental processes in plants. We analyzed the crystal structure of a nuclear GA receptor, GIBBERELLIN INSENSITIVE DWARF 1 (GID1) from Oryza sativa. As it was proposed from the sequence similarity, the overall structure of GID1 shows an α/β-hydrolase fold similar to that of the hormone-sensitive lipases (HSLs) except for an amino-terminal lid. The GA-binding site corresponds to the substrate-binding site of HSLs. Almost residues assigned for GA binding showed very little or no activity when they were replaced with Ala. The substitution of the residues corresponding to those of the lycophyte GID1s caused an increase in the binding affinity for GA34, a 2β-hydroxylated GA4. These findings indicate that GID1 originated from HSL and was tinkered to have the specificity for bioactive GAs in the course of plant evolution.

  12. Structure, molecular evolution, and hydrolytic specificities of largemouth bass pepsins.

    PubMed

    Miura, Yoko; Suzuki-Matsubara, Mieko; Kageyama, Takashi; Moriyama, Akihiko

    2016-02-01

    The nucleotide sequences of largemouth bass pepsinogens (PG1, 2 and 3) were determined after molecular cloning of the respective cDNAs. Encoded PG1, 2 and 3 were classified as fish pepsinogens A1, A2 and C, respectively. Molecular evolutionary analyses show that vertebrate pepsinogens are classified into seven monophyletic groups, i.e. pepsinogens A, F, Y (prochymosins), C, B, and fish pepsinogens A and C. Regarding the primary structures, extensive deletion was obvious in S'1 loop residues in fish pepsin A as well as tetrapod pepsin Y. This deletion resulted in a decrease in hydrophobic residues in the S'1 site. Hydrolytic specificities of bass pepsins A1 and A2 were investigated with a pepsin substrate and its variants. Bass pepsins preferred both hydrophobic/aromatic residues and charged residues at the P'1 sites of substrates, showing the dual character of S'1 sites. Thermodynamic analyses of bass pepsin A2 showed that its activation Gibbs energy change (∆G(‡)) was lower than that of porcine pepsin A. Several sites of bass pepsin A2 moiety were found to be under positive selection, and most of them are located on the surface of the molecule, where they are involved in conformational flexibility. The broad S'1 specificity and flexible structure of bass pepsin A2 are thought to cause its high proteolytic activity. PMID:26627128

  13. Multiple cellular origins and molecular evolution of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.

    PubMed

    Wei, Miaoyan; Lü, Lisheng; Lin, Peiyi; Chen, Zhisheng; Quan, Zhiwei; Tang, Zhaohui

    2016-09-01

    Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC) is an aggressive malignancy associated with unfavorable prognosis and for which no effective treatments are available. Its molecular pathogenesis is poorly understood. Genome-wide sequencing and high-throughput technologies have provided critical insights into the molecular basis of ICC while sparking a heated debate on the cellular origin. Cancer exhibits variabilities in origin, progression and cell biology. Recent evidence suggests that ICC has multiple cellular origins, including differentiated hepatocytes; intrahepatic biliary epithelial cells (IBECs)/cholangiocytes; pluripotent stem cells, such as hepatic stem/progenitor cells (HPCs) and biliary tree stem/progenitor cells (BTSCs); and peribiliary gland (PBG). However, both somatic mutagenesis and epigenomic features are highly cell type-specific. Multiple cellular origins may have profoundly different genomic landscapes and key signaling pathways, driving phenotypic variation and thereby posing significant challenges to personalized medicine in terms of achieving the optimal drug response and patient outcome. Considering this information, we have summarized the latest experimental evidence and relevant literature to provide an up-to-date view of the cellular origin of ICC, which will contribute to establishment of a hierarchical model of carcinogenesis and allow for improvement of the anatomical-based classification of ICC. These new insights have important implications for both the diagnosis and treatment of ICC patients. PMID:26940139

  14. Molecular tools in understanding the evolution of Vibrio cholerae

    PubMed Central

    Rahaman, Md. Habibur; Islam, Tarequl; Colwell, Rita R.; Alam, Munirul

    2015-01-01

    Vibrio cholerae, the etiological agent of cholera, has been a scourge for centuries. Cholera remains a serious health threat for developing countries and has been responsible for millions of deaths globally over the past 200 years. Identification of V. cholerae has been accomplished using a variety of methods, ranging from phenotypic strategies to DNA based molecular typing and currently whole genomic approaches. This array of methods has been adopted in epidemiological investigations, either singly or in the aggregate, and more recently for evolutionary analyses of V. cholerae. Because the new technologies have been developed at an ever increasing pace, this review of the range of fingerprinting strategies, their relative advantages and limitations, and cholera case studies was undertaken. The task was challenging, considering the vast amount of the information available. To assist the study, key references representative of several areas of research are provided with the intent to provide readers with a comprehensive view of recent advances in the molecular epidemiology of V. cholerae. Suggestions for ways to obviate many of the current limitations of typing techniques are also provided. In summary, a comparative report has been prepared that includes the range from traditional typing to whole genomic strategies. PMID:26500613

  15. The molecular evolution of the vertebrate behavioural repertoire.

    PubMed

    Grant, Seth G N

    2016-01-01

    How the sophisticated vertebrate behavioural repertoire evolved remains a major question in biology. The behavioural repertoire encompasses the set of individual behavioural components that an organism uses when adapting and responding to changes in its external world. Although unicellular organisms, invertebrates and vertebrates share simple reflex responses, the fundamental mechanisms that resulted in the complexity and sophistication that is characteristic of vertebrate behaviours have only recently been examined. A series of behavioural genetic experiments in mice and humans support a theory that posited the importance of synapse proteome expansion in generating complexity in the behavioural repertoire. Genome duplication events, approximately 550 Ma, produced expansion in the synapse proteome that resulted in increased complexity in synapse signalling mechanisms that regulate components of the behavioural repertoire. The experiments demonstrate the importance to behaviour of the gene duplication events, the diversification of paralogues and sequence constraint. They also confirm the significance of comparative proteomic and genomic studies that identified the molecular origins of synapses in unicellular eukaryotes and the vertebrate expansion in proteome complexity. These molecular mechanisms have general importance for understanding the repertoire of behaviours in different species and for human behavioural disorders arising from synapse gene mutations. PMID:26598730

  16. The molecular evolution of the vertebrate behavioural repertoire

    PubMed Central

    2016-01-01

    How the sophisticated vertebrate behavioural repertoire evolved remains a major question in biology. The behavioural repertoire encompasses the set of individual behavioural components that an organism uses when adapting and responding to changes in its external world. Although unicellular organisms, invertebrates and vertebrates share simple reflex responses, the fundamental mechanisms that resulted in the complexity and sophistication that is characteristic of vertebrate behaviours have only recently been examined. A series of behavioural genetic experiments in mice and humans support a theory that posited the importance of synapse proteome expansion in generating complexity in the behavioural repertoire. Genome duplication events, approximately 550 Ma, produced expansion in the synapse proteome that resulted in increased complexity in synapse signalling mechanisms that regulate components of the behavioural repertoire. The experiments demonstrate the importance to behaviour of the gene duplication events, the diversification of paralogues and sequence constraint. They also confirm the significance of comparative proteomic and genomic studies that identified the molecular origins of synapses in unicellular eukaryotes and the vertebrate expansion in proteome complexity. These molecular mechanisms have general importance for understanding the repertoire of behaviours in different species and for human behavioural disorders arising from synapse gene mutations. PMID:26598730

  17. Molecular Evolution of the Oxygen-Binding Hemerythrin Domain

    PubMed Central

    Alvarez-Carreño, Claudia; Becerra, Arturo; Lazcano, Antonio

    2016-01-01

    Background The evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis during Precambrian times entailed the diversification of strategies minimizing reactive oxygen species-associated damage. Four families of oxygen-carrier proteins (hemoglobin, hemerythrin and the two non-homologous families of arthropodan and molluscan hemocyanins) are known to have evolved independently the capacity to bind oxygen reversibly, providing cells with strategies to cope with the evolutionary pressure of oxygen accumulation. Oxygen-binding hemerythrin was first studied in marine invertebrates but further research has made it clear that it is present in the three domains of life, strongly suggesting that its origin predated the emergence of eukaryotes. Results Oxygen-binding hemerythrins are a monophyletic sub-group of the hemerythrin/HHE (histidine, histidine, glutamic acid) cation-binding domain. Oxygen-binding hemerythrin homologs were unambiguously identified in 367/2236 bacterial, 21/150 archaeal and 4/135 eukaryotic genomes. Overall, oxygen-binding hemerythrin homologues were found in the same proportion as single-domain and as long protein sequences. The associated functions of protein domains in long hemerythrin sequences can be classified in three major groups: signal transduction, phosphorelay response regulation, and protein binding. This suggests that in many organisms the reversible oxygen-binding capacity was incorporated in signaling pathways. A maximum-likelihood tree of oxygen-binding hemerythrin homologues revealed a complex evolutionary history in which lateral gene transfer, duplications and gene losses appear to have played an important role. Conclusions Hemerythrin is an ancient protein domain with a complex evolutionary history. The distinctive iron-binding coordination site of oxygen-binding hemerythrins evolved first in prokaryotes, very likely prior to the divergence of Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, and spread into many bacterial, archaeal and eukaryotic species. The later

  18. Decoding the molecular evolution of human cognition using comparative genomics

    PubMed Central

    Usui, Noriyoshi; Co, Marissa; Konopka, Genevieve

    2014-01-01

    Identification of genetic and molecular factors responsible for the specialized cognitive abilities of humans is expected to provide important insights into the mechanisms responsible for disorders of cognition such as autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Here, we discuss the use of comparative genomics for identifying salient genes and gene networks that may underlie cognition. We focus on the comparison of human and non-human primate brain gene expression and the utility of building gene co-expression networks for prioritizing hundreds of genes that differ in expression among the species queried. We also discuss the importance and methods for functional studies of individual genes identified. Together, this integration of comparative genomics with cellular and animal models should provide improved systems for developing effective therapeutics for disorders of cognition. PMID:25247723

  19. Molecular evolution and in vitro characterization of Botryllus histocompatibility factor.

    PubMed

    Taketa, Daryl A; Nydam, Marie L; Langenbacher, Adam D; Rodriguez, Delany; Sanders, Erin; De Tomaso, Anthony W

    2015-10-01

    Botryllus schlosseri is a colonial ascidian with a natural ability to anastomose with another colony to form a vascular and hematopoietic chimera. In order to fuse, two individuals must share at least one allele at the highly polymorphic fuhc locus. Otherwise, a blood-based inflammatory response will occur resulting in a melanin scar at the sites of interaction. The single-locus genetic control of allorecognition makes B. schlosseri an attractive model to study the underlying molecular mechanisms. Over the past decade, several candidate genes involved in allorecognition have been identified, but how they ultimately contribute to allorecognition outcome remains poorly understood. Here, we report our initial molecular characterization of a recently identified candidate allodeterminant called Botryllus histocompatibility factor (bhf). bhf, both on a DNA and protein level, is the least polymorphic protein in the fuhc locus studied so far and, unlike other known allorecognition determinants, does not appear to be under any form of balancing or directional selection. Additionally, we identified a second isoform through mRNA-Seq and an EST assembly library which is missing exon 3, resulting in a C-terminally truncated form. We report via whole-mount fluorescent in situ hybridization that a subset of cells co-express bhf and cfuhc(sec). Finally, we observed BHF's localization in HEK293T at the cytoplasmic side of the plasma membrane in addition to the nucleus via a nuclear localization signal. Given the localization data thus far, we hypothesize that BHF may function as a scaffolding protein in a complex with other Botryllus proteins, rather than functioning as an allorecognition determinant. PMID:26359175

  20. Vibration-mediated Kondo transport in molecular junctions: conductance evolution during mechanical stretching

    PubMed Central

    Rakhmilevitch, David

    2015-01-01

    Summary The vibration-mediated Kondo effect attracted considerable theoretical interest during the last decade. However, due to lack of extensive experimental demonstrations, the fine details of the phenomenon were not addressed. Here, we analyze the evolution of vibration-mediated Kondo effect in molecular junctions during mechanical stretching. The described analysis reveals the different contributions of Kondo and inelastic transport. PMID:26734532

  1. Modification of pancreatic lipase properties by directed molecular evolution.

    PubMed

    Colin, Damien Yann; Deprez-Beauclair, Paule; Silva, Noella; Infantes, Lourdes; Kerfelec, Brigitte

    2010-05-01

    Cystic fibrosis is associated with pancreatic insufficiency and acidic intraluminal conditions that limit the action of pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, especially that of lipase. Directed evolution combined with rational design was used in the aim of improving the performances of the human pancreatic lipase at acidic pH. We set up a method for screening thousands of lipase variants for activity at low pH. A single round of random mutagenesis yielded one lipase variant with an activity at acidic pH enhanced by approximately 50% on medium- and long-chain triglycerides. Sequence analysis revealed two substitutions (E179G/N406S) located in specific regions, the hydrophobic groove accommodating the sn-1 chain of the triglyceride (E179G) and the surface loop that is likely to mediate lipase/colipase interaction in the presence of lipids (N406S). Interestingly, these two substitutions shifted the chain-length specificity of lipase toward medium- and long-chain triglycerides. Combination of those two mutations with a promising one at the entrance of the catalytic cavity (K80E) negatively affected the lipase activity at neutral pH but not that at acidic pH. Our results provide a basis for the design of improved lipase at acidic pH and identify for the first time key residues associated with chain-length specificity. PMID:20150178

  2. Epistasis and the Dynamics of Reversion in Molecular Evolution.

    PubMed

    McCandlish, David M; Shah, Premal; Plotkin, Joshua B

    2016-07-01

    Recent studies of protein evolution contend that the longer an amino acid substitution is present at a site, the less likely it is to revert to the amino acid previously occupying that site. Here we study this phenomenon of decreasing reversion rates rigorously and in a much more general context. We show that, under weak mutation and for arbitrary fitness landscapes, reversion rates decrease with time for any site that is involved in at least one epistatic interaction. Specifically, we prove that, at stationarity, the hazard function of the distribution of waiting times until reversion is strictly decreasing for any such site. Thus, in the presence of epistasis, the longer a particular character has been absent from a site, the less likely the site will revert to its prior state. We also explore several examples of this general result, which share a common pattern whereby the probability of having reverted increases rapidly at short times to some substantial value before becoming almost flat after a few substitutions at other sites. This pattern indicates a characteristic tendency for reversion to occur either almost immediately after the initial substitution or only after a very long time. PMID:27194749

  3. Phylogeography and molecular evolution of potato virus Y.

    PubMed

    Cuevas, José M; Delaunay, Agnès; Visser, Johan C; Bellstedt, Dirk U; Jacquot, Emmanuel; Elena, Santiago F

    2012-01-01

    Potato virus Y (PVY) is an important plant pathogen, whose host range includes economically important crops such as potato, tobacco, tomato, and pepper. PVY presents three main strains (PVY(O), PVY(N) and PVY(C)) and several recombinant forms. PVY has a worldwide distribution, yet the mechanisms that promote and maintain its population structure and genetic diversity are still unclear. In this study, we used a pool of 77 complete PVY genomes from isolates collected worldwide. After removing the effect of recombination in our data set, we used bayesian techniques to study the influence of geography and host species in both PVY population structure and dynamics. We have also performed selection and covariation analyses to identify evolutionarily relevant amino acid residues. Our results show that both geographic and host-driven adaptations explain PVY diversification. Furthermore, purifying selection is the main force driving PVY evolution, although some indications of positive selection accounted for the diversification of the different strains. Interestingly, the analysis of P3N-PIPO, a recently described gene in potyviruses, seems to show a variable length among the isolates analyzed, and this variability is explained, in part, by host-driven adaptation. PMID:22655074

  4. Molecular evolution of the capsid gene in human norovirus genogroup II

    PubMed Central

    Kobayashi, Miho; Matsushima, Yuki; Motoya, Takumi; Sakon, Naomi; Shigemoto, Naoki; Okamoto-Nakagawa, Reiko; Nishimura, Koichi; Yamashita, Yasutaka; Kuroda, Makoto; Saruki, Nobuhiro; Ryo, Akihide; Saraya, Takeshi; Morita, Yukio; Shirabe, Komei; Ishikawa, Mariko; Takahashi, Tomoko; Shinomiya, Hiroto; Okabe, Nobuhiko; Nagasawa, Koo; Suzuki, Yoshiyuki; Katayama, Kazuhiko; Kimura, Hirokazu

    2016-01-01

    Capsid protein of norovirus genogroup II (GII) plays crucial roles in host infection. Although studies on capsid gene evolution have been conducted for a few genotypes of norovirus, the molecular evolution of norovirus GII is not well understood. Here we report the molecular evolution of all GII genotypes, using various bioinformatics techniques. The time-scaled phylogenetic tree showed that the present GII strains diverged from GIV around 1630CE at a high evolutionary rate (around 10−3 substitutions/site/year), resulting in three lineages. The GII capsid gene had large pairwise distances (maximum > 0.39). The effective population sizes of the present GII strains were large (>102) for about 400 years. Positive (20) and negative (over 450) selection sites were estimated. Moreover, some linear and conformational B-cell epitopes were found in the deduced GII capsid protein. These results suggested that norovirus GII strains rapidly evolved with high divergence and adaptation to humans. PMID:27384324

  5. Karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes: an examination of the process of karyotypic evolution by comparison of the molecular cytogenetic findings with the molecular phylogeny.

    PubMed

    Shibusawa, M; Nishibori, M; Nishida-Umehara, C; Tsudzuki, M; Masabanda, J; Griffin, D K; Matsuda, Y

    2004-01-01

    To define the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes on a molecular basis, we conducted genome-wide comparative chromosome painting for eight species, i.e. silver pheasant (Lophura nycthemera), Lady Amherst's pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae), ring-necked pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), turkey (Meleagris gallopavo), Western capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), Chinese bamboo-partridge (Bambusicola thoracica) and common peafowl (Pavo cristatus) of the Phasianidae, and plain chachalaca (Ortalis vetula) of the Cracidae, with chicken DNA probes of chromosomes 1-9 and Z. Including our previous data from five other species, chicken (Gallus gallus), Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) and blue-breasted quail (Coturnix chinensis) of the Phasianidae, guinea fowl (Numida meleagris) of the Numididae and California quail (Callipepla californica) of the Odontophoridae, we represented the evolutionary changes of karyotypes in the 13 species of the Galliformes. In addition, we compared the cytogenetic data with the molecular phylogeny of the 13 species constructed with the nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, and discussed the process of karyotypic evolution in the Galliformes. Comparative chromosome painting confirmed the previous data on chromosome rearrangements obtained by G-banding analysis, and identified several novel chromosome rearrangements. The process of the evolutionary changes of macrochromosomes in the 13 species was in good accordance with the molecular phylogeny, and the ancestral karyotype of the Galliformes is represented. PMID:15218250

  6. Are Molecular Alphabets Universal Enabling Factors for the Evolution of Complex Life?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dunn, Ian S.

    2013-12-01

    Terrestrial biosystems depend on macromolecules, and this feature is often considered as a likely universal aspect of life. While opinions differ regarding the importance of small-molecule systems in abiogenesis, escalating biological functional demands are linked with increasing complexity in key molecules participating in biosystem operations, and many such requirements cannot be efficiently mediated by relatively small compounds. It has long been recognized that known life is associated with the evolution of two distinct molecular alphabets (nucleic acid and protein), specific sequence combinations of which serve as informational and functional polymers. In contrast, much less detailed focus has been directed towards the potential universal need for molecular alphabets in constituting complex chemically-based life, and the implications of such a requirement. To analyze this, emphasis here is placed on the generalizable replicative and functional characteristics of molecular alphabets and their concatenates. A primary replicative alphabet based on the simplest possible molecular complementarity can potentially enable evolutionary processes to occur, including the encoding of secondarily functional alphabets. Very large uniquely specified (`non-alphabetic') molecules cannot feasibly underlie systems capable of the replicative and evolutionary properties which characterize complex biosystems. Transitions in the molecular evolution of alphabets can be related to progressive bridging of barriers which enable higher levels of biosystem organization. It is thus highly probable that molecular alphabets are an obligatory requirement for complex chemically-based life anywhere in the universe. In turn, reference to molecular alphabets should be usefully applied in current definitions of life.

  7. Are molecular alphabets universal enabling factors for the evolution of complex life?

    PubMed

    Dunn, Ian S

    2013-12-01

    Terrestrial biosystems depend on macromolecules, and this feature is often considered as a likely universal aspect of life. While opinions differ regarding the importance of small-molecule systems in abiogenesis, escalating biological functional demands are linked with increasing complexity in key molecules participating in biosystem operations, and many such requirements cannot be efficiently mediated by relatively small compounds. It has long been recognized that known life is associated with the evolution of two distinct molecular alphabets (nucleic acid and protein), specific sequence combinations of which serve as informational and functional polymers. In contrast, much less detailed focus has been directed towards the potential universal need for molecular alphabets in constituting complex chemically-based life, and the implications of such a requirement. To analyze this, emphasis here is placed on the generalizable replicative and functional characteristics of molecular alphabets and their concatenates. A primary replicative alphabet based on the simplest possible molecular complementarity can potentially enable evolutionary processes to occur, including the encoding of secondarily functional alphabets. Very large uniquely specified ('non-alphabetic') molecules cannot feasibly underlie systems capable of the replicative and evolutionary properties which characterize complex biosystems. Transitions in the molecular evolution of alphabets can be related to progressive bridging of barriers which enable higher levels of biosystem organization. It is thus highly probable that molecular alphabets are an obligatory requirement for complex chemically-based life anywhere in the universe. In turn, reference to molecular alphabets should be usefully applied in current definitions of life. PMID:24510462

  8. Molecular evolution of GPCRs: Melanocortin/melanocortin receptors.

    PubMed

    Dores, Robert M; Londraville, Richard L; Prokop, Jeremy; Davis, Perry; Dewey, Nathan; Lesinski, Natalie

    2014-06-01

    The melanocortin receptors (MCRs) are a family of G protein-coupled receptors that are activated by melanocortin ligands derived from the proprotein, proopiomelanocortin (POMC). During the radiation of the gnathostomes, the five receptors have become functionally segregated (i.e. melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), pigmentation regulation; MC2R, glucocorticoid synthesis; MC3R and MC4R, energy homeostasis; and MC5R, exocrine gland physiology). A focus of this review is the role that ligand selectivity plays in the hypothalamus/pituitary/adrenal-interrenal (HPA-I) axis of teleosts and tetrapods as a result of the exclusive ligand selectivity of MC2R for the ligand ACTH. A second focal point of this review is the roles that the accessory proteins melanocortin 2 receptor accessory protein 1 (MRAP1) and MRAP2 are playing in, respectively, the HPA-I axis (MC2R) and the regulation of energy homeostasis by neurons in the hypothalamus (MC4R) of teleosts and tetrapods. In addition, observations are presented on trends in the ligand selectivity parameters of cartilaginous fish, teleost, and tetrapod MC1R, MC3R, MC4R, and MC5R paralogs, and the modeling of the HFRW motif of ACTH(1-24) when compared with α-MSH. The radiation of the MCRs during the evolution of the gnathostomes provides examples of how the physiology of endocrine and neuronal circuits can be shaped by ligand selectivity, the intersession of reverse agonists (agouti-related peptides (AGRPs)), and interactions with accessory proteins (MRAPs). PMID:24868105

  9. Distribution and molecular evolution of bacillus anthracis genotypes in Namibia.

    PubMed

    Beyer, Wolfgang; Bellan, Steve; Eberle, Gisela; Ganz, Holly H; Getz, Wayne M; Haumacher, Renate; Hilss, Karen A; Kilian, Werner; Lazak, Judith; Turner, Wendy C; Turnbull, Peter C B

    2012-01-01

    The recent development of genetic markers for Bacillus anthracis has made it possible to monitor the spread and distribution of this pathogen during and between anthrax outbreaks. In Namibia, anthrax outbreaks occur annually in the Etosha National Park (ENP) and on private game and livestock farms. We genotyped 384 B. anthracis isolates collected between 1983-2010 to identify the possible epidemiological correlations of anthrax outbreaks within and outside the ENP and to analyze genetic relationships between isolates from domestic and wild animals. The isolates came from 20 animal species and from the environment and were genotyped using a 31-marker multi-locus-VNTR-analysis (MLVA) and, in part, by twelve single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and four single nucleotide repeat (SNR) markers. A total of 37 genotypes (GT) were identified by MLVA, belonging to four SNP-groups. All GTs belonged to the A-branch in the cluster- and SNP-analyses. Thirteen GTs were found only outside the ENP, 18 only within the ENP and 6 both inside and outside. Genetic distances between isolates increased with increasing time between isolations. However, genetic distance between isolates at the beginning and end of the study period was relatively small, indicating that while the majority of GTs were only found sporadically, three genetically close GTs, accounting for more than four fifths of all the ENP isolates, appeared dominant throughout the study period. Genetic distances among isolates were significantly greater for isolates from different host species, but this effect was small, suggesting that while species-specific ecological factors may affect exposure processes, transmission cycles in different host species are still highly interrelated. The MLVA data were further used to establish a model of the probable evolution of GTs within the endemic region of the ENP. SNR-analysis was helpful in correlating an isolate with its source but did not elucidate epidemiological

  10. The modern theory of biological evolution: an expanded synthesis.

    PubMed

    Kutschera, Ulrich; Niklas, Karl J

    2004-06-01

    In 1858, two naturalists, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, independently proposed natural selection as the basic mechanism responsible for the origin of new phenotypic variants and, ultimately, new species. A large body of evidence for this hypothesis was published in Darwin's Origin of Species one year later, the appearance of which provoked other leading scientists like August Weismann to adopt and amplify Darwin's perspective. Weismann's neo-Darwinian theory of evolution was further elaborated, most notably in a series of books by Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ernst Mayr, Julian Huxley and others. In this article we first summarize the history of life on Earth and provide recent evidence demonstrating that Darwin's dilemma (the apparent missing Precambrian record of life) has been resolved. Next, the historical development and structure of the "modern synthesis" is described within the context of the following topics: paleobiology and rates of evolution, mass extinctions and species selection, macroevolution and punctuated equilibrium, sexual reproduction and recombination, sexual selection and altruism, endosymbiosis and eukaryotic cell evolution, evolutionary developmental biology, phenotypic plasticity, epigenetic inheritance and molecular evolution, experimental bacterial evolution, and computer simulations (in silico evolution of digital organisms). In addition, we discuss the expansion of the modern synthesis, embracing all branches of scientific disciplines. It is concluded that the basic tenets of the synthetic theory have survived, but in modified form. These sub-theories require continued elaboration, particularly in light of molecular biology, to answer open-ended questions concerning the mechanisms of evolution in all five kingdoms of life. PMID:15241603

  11. The modern theory of biological evolution: an expanded synthesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kutschera, Ulrich; Niklas, Karl J.

    In 1858, two naturalists, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, independently proposed natural selection as the basic mechanism responsible for the origin of new phenotypic variants and, ultimately, new species. A large body of evidence for this hypothesis was published in Darwin's Origin of Species one year later, the appearance of which provoked other leading scientists like August Weismann to adopt and amplify Darwin's perspective. Weismann's neo-Darwinian theory of evolution was further elaborated, most notably in a series of books by Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ernst Mayr, Julian Huxley and others. In this article we first summarize the history of life on Earth and provide recent evidence demonstrating that Darwin's dilemma (the apparent missing Precambrian record of life) has been resolved. Next, the historical development and structure of the ``modern synthesis'' is described within the context of the following topics: paleobiology and rates of evolution, mass extinctions and species selection, macroevolution and punctuated equilibrium, sexual reproduction and recombination, sexual selection and altruism, endosymbiosis and eukaryotic cell evolution, evolutionary developmental biology, phenotypic plasticity, epigenetic inheritance and molecular evolution, experimental bacterial evolution, and computer simulations (in silico evolution of digital organisms). In addition, we discuss the expansion of the modern synthesis, embracing all branches of scientific disciplines. It is concluded that the basic tenets of the synthetic theory have survived, but in modified form. These sub-theories require continued elaboration, particularly in light of molecular biology, to answer open-ended questions concerning the mechanisms of evolution in all five kingdoms of life.

  12. Molecular activities, biosynthesis and evolution of triterpenoid saponins.

    PubMed

    Augustin, Jörg M; Kuzina, Vera; Andersen, Sven B; Bak, Søren

    2011-04-01

    Saponins are bioactive compounds generally considered to be produced by plants to counteract pathogens and herbivores. Besides their role in plant defense, saponins are of growing interest for drug research as they are active constituents of several folk medicines and provide valuable pharmacological properties. Accordingly, much effort has been put into unraveling the modes of action of saponins, as well as in exploration of their potential for industrial processes and pharmacology. However, the exploitation of saponins for bioengineering crop plants with improved resistances against pests as well as circumvention of laborious and uneconomical extraction procedures for industrial production from plants is hampered by the lack of knowledge and availability of genes in saponin biosynthesis. Although the ability to produce saponins is rather widespread among plants, a complete synthetic pathway has not been elucidated in any single species. Current conceptions consider saponins to be derived from intermediates of the phytosterol pathway, and predominantly enzymes belonging to the multigene families of oxidosqualene cyclases (OSCs), cytochromes P450 (P450s) and family 1 UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) are thought to be involved in their biosynthesis. Formation of unique structural features involves additional biosynthetical enzymes of diverse phylogenetic background. As an example of this, a serine carboxypeptidase-like acyltransferase (SCPL) was recently found to be involved in synthesis of triterpenoid saponins in oats. However, the total number of identified genes in saponin biosynthesis remains low as the complexity and diversity of these multigene families impede gene discovery based on sequence analysis and phylogeny. This review summarizes current knowledge of triterpenoid saponin biosynthesis in plants, molecular activities, evolutionary aspects and perspectives for further gene discovery. PMID:21333312

  13. Molecular systematics and evolution of the Cyanocorax jays.

    PubMed

    Bonaccorso, Elisa; Peterson, A Townsend; Navarro-Sigüenza, Adolfo G; Fleischer, Robert C

    2010-03-01

    Phylogenetic relationships were studied in the genus Cyanocorax (Aves: Corvidae) and related genera, Psilorhinus and Calocitta, a diverse group of New World jays distributed from the southern United States south to Argentina. Although the ecology and behavior of some species in the group have been studied extensively, lack of a molecular phylogeny has precluded rigorous interpretations in an evolutionary framework. Given the diverse combinations of plumage coloration, size, and morphology, the taxonomy of the group has been inconsistent and understanding of biogeographic patterns problematic. Moreover, plumage similarity between two geographically disjuct species, the Tufted jay (Cyanocorax dickeyi) from western Mexico and the White-tailed jay (C. mystacalis) from western Ecuador and Peru, has puzzled ornithologists for decades. Here, a phylogeny of all species in the three genera is presented, based on study of two mitochondrial and three nuclear genes. Phylogenetic trees revealed the non-monophyly of Cyanocorax, and the division of the whole assemblage in two groups: "Clade A" containing Psilorhinus morio, both species in Calocitta,Cyanocorax violaceus, C. caeruleus, C. cristatellus, and C. cyanomelas, and "Clade B" consisting of the remaining species in Cyanocorax. Relationships among species in Clade A were ambiguous and, in general, not well resolved. Within Clade B, analyses revealed the monophyly of the "Cissilopha" jays and showed no evidence for a sister relationship between C. mystacalis and C. dickeyi. The phylogenetic complexity of lineages in the group suggests several complications for the understanding biogeographic patterns, as well as for proposing a taxonomy that is consistent with morphological variation. Although multiple taxonomic arrangements are possible, recommendations are for recognizing only one genus, Cyanocorax, with Psilorhinus and Calocitta as synonyms. PMID:19931623

  14. Reconstructing web evolution and spider diversification in the molecular era

    PubMed Central

    Blackledge, Todd A.; Scharff, Nikolaj; Coddington, Jonathan A.; Szüts, Tamas; Wenzel, John W.; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.; Agnarsson, Ingi

    2009-01-01

    The evolutionary diversification of spiders is attributed to spectacular innovations in silk. Spiders are unique in synthesizing many different kinds of silk, and using silk for a variety of ecological functions throughout their lives, particularly to make prey-catching webs. Here, we construct a broad higher-level phylogeny of spiders combining molecular data with traditional morphological and behavioral characters. We use this phylogeny to test the hypothesis that the spider orb web evolved only once. We then examine spider diversification in relation to different web architectures and silk use. We find strong support for a single origin of orb webs, implying a major shift in the spinning of capture silk and repeated loss or transformation of orb webs. We show that abandonment of costly cribellate capture silk correlates with the 2 major diversification events in spiders (1). Replacement of cribellate silk by aqueous silk glue may explain the greater diversity of modern orb-weaving spiders (Araneoidea) compared with cribellate orb-weaving spiders (Deinopoidea) (2). Within the “RTA clade,” which is the sister group to orb-weaving spiders and contains half of all spider diversity, >90% of species richness is associated with repeated loss of cribellate silk and abandonment of prey capture webs. Accompanying cribellum loss in both groups is a release from substrate-constrained webs, whether by aerially suspended webs, or by abandoning webs altogether. These behavioral shifts in silk and web production by spiders thus likely played a key role in the dramatic evolutionary success and ecological dominance of spiders as predators of insects. PMID:19289848

  15. Parasitic plants have increased rates of molecular evolution across all three genomes

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Theoretical models and experimental evidence suggest that rates of molecular evolution could be raised in parasitic organisms compared to non-parasitic taxa. Parasitic plants provide an ideal test for these predictions, as there are at least a dozen independent origins of the parasitic lifestyle in angiosperms. Studies of a number of parasitic plant lineages have suggested faster rates of molecular evolution, but the results of some studies have been mixed. Comparative analysis of all parasitic plant lineages, including sequences from all three genomes, is needed to examine the generality of the relationship between rates of molecular evolution and parasitism in plants. Results We analysed DNA sequence data from the mitochondrial, nuclear and chloroplast genomes for 12 independent evolutionary origins of parasitism in angiosperms. We demonstrated that parasitic lineages have a faster rate of molecular evolution than their non-parasitic relatives in sequences for all three genomes, for both synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions. Conclusions Our results prove that raised rates of molecular evolution are a general feature of parasitic plants, not confined to a few taxa or specific genes. We discuss possible causes for this relationship, including increased positive selection associated with host-parasite arms races, relaxed selection, reduced population size or repeated bottlenecks, increased mutation rates, and indirect causal links with generation time and body size. We find no evidence that faster rates are due to smaller effective populations sizes or changes in selection pressure. Instead, our results suggest that parasitic plants have a higher mutation rate than their close non-parasitic relatives. This may be due to a direct connection, where some aspect of the parasitic lifestyle drives the evolution of raised mutation rates. Alternatively, this pattern may be driven by an indirect connection between rates and parasitism: for example, parasitic

  16. Emerging of Stochastic Dynamical Equalities and Steady State Thermodynamics from Darwinian Dynamics*

    PubMed Central

    Ao, P.

    2011-01-01

    The evolutionary dynamics first conceived by Darwin and Wallace, referring to as Darwinian dynamics in the present paper, has been found to be universally valid in biology. The statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, while enormous successful in physics, have been in an awkward situation of wanting a consistent dynamical understanding. Here we present from a formal point of view an exploration of the connection between thermodynamics and Darwinian dynamics and a few related topics. We first show that the stochasticity in Darwinian dynamics implies the existence temperature, hence the canonical distribution of Boltzmann–Gibbs type. In term of relative entropy the Second Law of thermodynamics is dynamically demonstrated without detailed balance condition, and is valid regardless of size of the system. In particular, the dynamical component responsible for breaking detailed balance condition does not contribute to the change of the relative entropy. Two types of stochastic dynamical equalities of current interest are explicitly discussed in the present approach: One is based on Feynman–Kac formula and another is a generalization of Einstein relation. Both are directly accessible to experimental tests. Our demonstration indicates that Darwinian dynamics represents logically a simple and straightforward starting point for statistical mechanics and thermodynamics and is complementary to and consistent with conservative dynamics that dominates the physical sciences. Present exploration suggests the existence of a unified stochastic dynamical framework both near and far from equilibrium. PMID:21949462

  17. How are we making bacteria more resistant to antibiotics? Darwinian impacts

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This presentation will address the Darwinian selection of genes of antibiotic resistance in food animals. Darwin’s concept of survival of the fittest is as critical when applied to bacteria as it is to animals. Bacteria live in a highly competitive environment that is similar to the macrobiologica...

  18. A Simple, General Result for the Variance of Substitution Number in Molecular Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Houchmandzadeh, Bahram; Vallade, Marcel

    2016-01-01

    The number of substitutions (of nucleotides, amino acids, etc.) that take place during the evolution of a sequence is a stochastic variable of fundamental importance in the field of molecular evolution. Although the mean number of substitutions during molecular evolution of a sequence can be estimated for a given substitution model, no simple solution exists for the variance of this random variable. We show in this article that the computation of the variance is as simple as that of the mean number of substitutions for both short and long times. Apart from its fundamental importance, this result can be used to investigate the dispersion index R, that is, the ratio of the variance to the mean substitution number, which is of prime importance in the neutral theory of molecular evolution. By investigating large classes of substitution models, we demonstrate that although R≥1, to obtain R significantly larger than unity necessitates in general additional hypotheses on the structure of the substitution model. PMID:27189545

  19. DNA Re-EvolutioN: a game for learning molecular genetics and evolution.

    PubMed

    Miralles, Laura; Moran, Paloma; Dopico, Eduardo; Garcia-Vazquez, Eva

    2013-01-01

    Evolution is a main concept in biology, but not many students understand how it works. In this article we introduce the game DNA Re-EvolutioN as an active learning tool that uses genetic concepts (DNA structure, transcription and translation, mutations, natural selection, etc.) as playing rules. Students will learn about molecular evolution while playing a game that mixes up theory and entertainment. The game can be easily adapted to different educational levels. The main goal of this play is to arrive at the end of the game with the longest protein. Students play with pawns and dices, a board containing hypothetical events (mutations, selection) that happen to molecules, "Evolution cards" with indications for DNA mutations, prototypes of a DNA and a mRNA chain with colored "nucleotides" (plasticine balls), and small pieces simulating t-RNA with aminoacids that will serve to construct a "protein" based on the DNA chain. Students will understand how changes in DNA affect the final protein product and may be subjected to positive or negative selection, using a didactic tool funnier than classical theory lectures and easier than molecular laboratory experiments: a flexible and feasible game to learn and enjoy molecular evolution at no-cost. The game was tested by majors and non-majors in genetics from 13 different countries and evaluated with pre- and post-tests obtaining very positive results. PMID:24259334

  20. Modelling the chemical evolution of molecular clouds as a function of metallicity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Penteado, E. M.; Cuppen, H. M.; Rocha-Pinto, H. J.

    2014-04-01

    The Galaxy is in continuous elemental evolution. Since new elements produced by dying stars are delivered to the interstellar medium, the formation of new generations of stars and planetary systems is influenced by this metal enrichment. We aim to study the role of the metallicity on the gas phase chemistry of the interstellar medium. Using a system of coupled ordinary differential equations to model the chemical reactions, we simulate the evolution of the abundance of molecules in the gas phase for different initial interstellar elemental compositions. These varying initial elemental compositions consider the change in the `elemental abundances' predicted by a self-consistent model of the elemental evolution of the Galaxy. As far as we are aware, this is the first attempt to combine elemental evolution of the Galaxy and chemical evolution of molecular clouds. The metallicity was found to have a strong effect on the overall gas phase composition. With decreasing metallicity, the number of long carbon chains was found to increase, the time-scale on which small molecular species are increases, and the main form of oxygen changed from O and CO to O2. These effects were found to be mainly due to the change in electron, H_3^+, and atomic oxygen abundance.

  1. Protein engineering of conger eel galectins by tracing of molecular evolution using probable ancestral mutants

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Conger eel galectins, congerin I (ConI) and congerin II (ConII), show the different molecular characteristics resulting from accelerating evolution. We recently reconstructed a probable ancestral form of congerins, Con-anc. It showed properties similar to those of ConII in terms of thermostability and carbohydrate recognition specificity, although it shares a higher sequence similarity with ConI than ConII. Results In this study, we have focused on the different amino acid residues between Con-anc and ConI, and have performed the protein engineering of Con-anc through site-directed mutagenesis, followed by the molecular evolution analysis of the mutants. This approach revealed the functional importance of loop structures of congerins: (1) N- and C-terminal and loop 5 regions that are involved in conferring a high thermostability to ConI; (2) loops 3, 5, and 6 that are responsible for stronger binding of ConI to most sugars; and (3) loops 5 and 6, and Thr38 residue in loop 3 contribute the specificity of ConI toward lacto-N-fucopentaose-containing sugars. Conclusions Thus, this methodology, with tracing of the molecular evolution using ancestral mutants, is a powerful tool for the analysis of not only the molecular evolutionary process, but also the structural elements of a protein responsible for its various functions. PMID:20152053

  2. A molecular time-scale for eukaryote evolution recalibrated with the continuous microfossil record

    PubMed Central

    Berney, Cédric; Pawlowski, Jan

    2006-01-01

    Recent attempts to establish a molecular time-scale of eukaryote evolution failed to provide a congruent view on the timing of the origin and early diversification of eukaryotes. The major discrepancies in molecular time estimates are related to questions concerning the calibration of the tree. To limit these uncertainties, we used here as a source of calibration points the rich and continuous microfossil record of dinoflagellates, diatoms and coccolithophorids. We calibrated a small-subunit ribosomal RNA tree of eukaryotes with four maximum and 22 minimum time constraints. Using these multiple calibration points in a Bayesian relaxed molecular clock framework, we inferred that the early radiation of eukaryotes occurred near the Mesoproterozoic–Neoproterozoic boundary, about 1100 million years ago. Our results indicate that most Proterozoic fossils of possible eukaryotic origin cannot be confidently assigned to extant lineages and should therefore not be used as calibration points in molecular dating. PMID:16822745

  3. Morphological and Molecular Evolution Are Not Linked in Lamellodiscus (Plathyhelminthes, Monogenea)

    PubMed Central

    Poisot, Timothée; Verneau, Olivier; Desdevises, Yves

    2011-01-01

    Lamellodiscus Johnston & Tiegs 1922 (Monogenea, Diplectanidae) is a genus of common parasites on the gills of sparid fishes. Here we show that this genus is probably undergoing a fast molecular diversification, as reflected by the important genetic variability observed within three molecular markers (partial nuclear 18S rDNA, Internal Transcribed Spacer 1, and mitonchondrial Cytochrome Oxidase I). Using an updated phylogeny of this genus, we show that molecular and morphological evolution are weakly correlated, and that most of the morphologically defined taxonomical units are not consistent with the molecular data. We suggest that Lamellodiscus morphology is probably constrained by strong environmental (host-induced) pressure, and discuss why this result can apply to other taxa. Genetic variability within nuclear 18S and mitochondrial COI genes are compared for several monogenean genera, as this measure may reflect the level of diversification within a genus. Overall our results suggest that cryptic speciation events may occur within Lamellodiscus, and discuss the links between morphological and molecular evolution. PMID:22022582

  4. The pattern of mammalian evolution and the relative rate of molecular evolution

    SciTech Connect

    Easteal, S. )

    1990-01-01

    The rates of nucleotide substitution at four genes in four orders of eutherian mammals are compared in relative rate tests using marsupial orthologs for reference. There is no evidence of systematic variation in evolutionary rate among the orders. The sequences are used to reconstruct the phylogeny of the orders using maximum likelihood, parsimony and compatibility methods. A branching order of rodent then ungulate then primate and lagomorph is overwhelmingly indicated. The nodes of the nucleotide based cladograms are widely separated in relation to the total lengths of the branches. The assumption of a star phylogeny that underlies Kimura's test for molecular evolutionary rate variation is shown to be invalid for eutherian mammals. Excess variance in nucleotide or amino acid differences between mammalian orders, above that predicted by neutral theory is explained better by variation in divergence time than by variation in evolutionary rate.

  5. Darwinian chemistry: towards the synthesis of a simple cell.

    PubMed

    Loakes, David; Holliger, Philipp

    2009-07-01

    The total synthesis of a simple cell is in many ways the ultimate challenge in synthetic biology. Outlined eight years ago in a visionary article by Szostak et al. (J. W. Szostak, D. P. Bartel and P. L. Luisi, Nature, 2001, 409, 387), the chances of success seemed remote. However, recent progress in nucleic acid chemistry, directed evolution and membrane biophysics have brought the prospect of a simple synthetic cell with life-like properties such as growth, division, heredity and evolution within reach. Success in this area will not only revolutionize our understanding of abiogenesis but provide a fertile test-bed for models of prebiotic chemistry and early evolution. Last but not least, a robust "living" protocell may provide a versatile and safe chassis for embedding synthetic devices and systems. PMID:19562107

  6. Molecular dynamics study of nanoparticle evolution in a background gas under laser ablation conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gouriet, K.; Zhigilei, L. V.; Itina, T. E.

    2009-03-01

    Long-time evolution of nanoparticles produced by short laser interactions is investigated for different materials. To better understand the mechanisms of the nanoparticle formation at a microscopic level, we use molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to analyse the evolution of a cluster in the presence of a background gas with different parameters (density and temperature). In particular, we compare the simulation results obtained for materials with different interaction potentials (Morse, Lennard-Jones, and Embedded Atom Model). Attention is focused on the evaporation and condensation processes of a cluster with different size and initial temperature. As a result of the MD calculations, we determinate the influence of both cluster properties and background gas parameters on the nanoparticle evolution. The role of the interaction potential is discussed based on the results of the simulations.

  7. A new model for biological effects of radiation and the driven force of molecular evolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wada, Takahiro; Manabe, Yuichiro; Nakajima, Hiroo; Tsunoyama, Yuichi; Bando, Masako

    We proposed a new mathematical model to estimate biological effects of radiation, which we call Whack-A-Mole (WAM) model. A special feature of WAM model is that it involves the dose rate of radiation as a key ingredient. We succeeded to reproduce the experimental data of various species concerning the radiation induced mutation frequencies. From the analysis of the mega-mouse experiments, we obtained the mutation rate per base-pair per year for mice which is consistent with the so-called molecular clock in evolution genetics, 10-9 mutation/base-pair/year. Another important quantity is the equivalent dose rate for the whole spontaneous mutation, deff. The value of deff for mice is 1.1*10-3 Gy/hour which is much larger than the dose rate of natural radiation (10- (6 - 7) Gy/hour) by several orders of magnitude. We also analyzed Drosophila data and obtained essentially the same numbers. This clearly indicates that the natural radiation is not the dominant driving force of the molecular evolution, but we should look for other factors, such as miscopy of DNA in duplication process. We believe this is the first quantitative proof of the small contribution of the natural radiation in the molecular evolution.

  8. Molecular evolution of H9N2 avian influenza viruses in Israel.

    PubMed

    Davidson, Irit; Fusaro, Alice; Heidari, Alireza; Monne, Isabella; Cattoli, Giovanni

    2014-06-01

    While the previous phylogenetic analyses of AIV H9N2 in Israel had mainly focused on phylogenetics and on describing different virus introductions into the country, for the first time, the H9N2-HA gene evolutionary history has been examined taking into account its origin, evolution and phylodynamics. The present study reveals the Israeli H9N2 molecular evolution rate, the virus molecular clock and skyline plot. The molecular skyline plot showed two major increments in population diversity sizes, the first which had occurred in 2003, the second between the end of 2007 and the first half of 2008. Between 2004 and 2007 the population size had proved to be constant. The two peaks correspond to the appearance of the 3rd and 4th major genetic groups, as well as to the introduction of two H9N2 vaccines. The mean evolution rate was 6.123 E-3 substitutions/site/year, typical of avian influenza viruses. The time interval from the most recent common ancestor was 12.3 years, corresponding to the year 2000, when H9N2 was first isolated in Israel. PMID:24469467

  9. Edward Hitchcock's pre-Darwinian (1840) "tree of life".

    PubMed

    Archibald, J David

    2009-01-01

    The "tree of life" iconography, representing the history of life, dates from at least the latter half of the 18th century, but evolution as the mechanism providing this bifurcating history of life did not appear until the early 19th century. There was also a shift from the straight line, scala naturae view of change in nature to a more bifurcating or tree-like view. Throughout the 19th century authors presented tree-like diagrams, some regarding the Deity as the mechanism of change while others argued for evolution. Straight-line or anagenetic evolution and bifurcating or cladogenetic evolution are known in biology today, but are often misrepresented in popular culture, especially with anagenesis being confounded with scala naturae. Although well known in the mid 19th century, the geologist Edward Hitchcock has been forgotten as an early, if not the first author to publish a paleontologically based "tree of life" beginning in 1840 in the first edition of his popular general geology text Elementary Geology. At least 31 editions were published and those between 1840 and 1859 had this "paleontological chart" showing two trees, one for fossil and living plants and another for animals set within a context of geological time. Although the chart did not vary in later editions, the text explaining the chart did change to reflect newer ideas in paleontology and geology. Whereas Lamarck, Chambers, Bronn, Darwin, and Haeckel saw some form of transmutation as the mechanism that created their "trees of life," Hitchcock, like his contemporaries Agassiz and Miller, who also produced "trees of life," saw a deity as the agent of change. Through each edition of his book Hitchcock denounced the newer transmutationist hypotheses of Lamarck, then Chambers, and finally Darwin in an 1860 edition that no longer presented his tree-like "paleontological chart." PMID:20027787

  10. From the ultrasonic to the infrared: molecular evolution and the sensory biology of bats.

    PubMed

    Jones, Gareth; Teeling, Emma C; Rossiter, Stephen J

    2013-01-01

    Great advances have been made recently in understanding the genetic basis of the sensory biology of bats. Research has focused on the molecular evolution of candidate sensory genes, genes with known functions [e.g., olfactory receptor (OR) genes] and genes identified from mutations associated with sensory deficits (e.g., blindness and deafness). For example, the FoxP2 gene, underpinning vocal behavior and sensorimotor coordination, has undergone diversification in bats, while several genes associated with audition show parallel amino acid substitutions in unrelated lineages of echolocating bats and, in some cases, in echolocating dolphins, representing a classic case of convergent molecular evolution. Vision genes encoding the photopigments rhodopsin and the long-wave sensitive opsin are functional in bats, while that encoding the short-wave sensitive opsin has lost functionality in rhinolophoid bats using high-duty cycle laryngeal echolocation, suggesting a sensory trade-off between investment in vision and echolocation. In terms of olfaction, bats appear to have a distinctive OR repertoire compared with other mammals, and a gene involved in signal transduction in the vomeronasal system has become non-functional in most bat species. Bitter taste receptors appear to have undergone a "birth-and death" evolution involving extensive gene duplication and loss, unlike genes coding for sweet and umami tastes that show conservation across most lineages but loss in vampire bats. Common vampire bats have also undergone adaptations for thermoperception, via alternative splicing resulting in the evolution of a novel heat-sensitive channel. The future for understanding the molecular basis of sensory biology is promising, with great potential for comparative genomic analyses, studies on gene regulation and expression, exploration of the role of alternative splicing in the generation of proteomic diversity, and linking genetic mechanisms to behavioral consequences. PMID:23755015