a vagary of links

A “vagary”, according to The Source, is the collective noun for ‘impediments’. More pages that collect collective nouns are here and here. I am amused that a group of submarines is called a wolfpack, and that a group of sheldrakes is a doading (shoutout to my friend Duckie!). Henceforth a group of links to things … Read more

paper: unexpected NRY chromosome variation in Melanesia

Unexpected NRY chromosome variation in Northern Island Melanesia Scheinfeldt et al Molecular Biology and Evolution, Advance Access doi:10.1093/molbev/msl028 To investigate the paternal population history of populations in Northern Island Melanesia, 685 paternally unrelated males from 36 populations in this region and New Guinea were analyzed at 14 regionally informative binary markers and seven short-tandem-repeat loci … Read more

paper: phylogenetic classification and the universal tree

Doolittle, W.F. (1999) Phylogenetic classification and the universal tree. Science, 284, 2124-2128. [link] Interesting review discussing recent findings which question a strict tree model for the universal tree of life. Lateral gene transfer is non-trivial, especial in archaeal and bacterial genomes. Doesn't dismiss the usefulness of molecular phylogenetics as a tool, but questions it as … Read more

ashkenazi founder event

The Matrilineal Ancestry of Ashkenazi Jewry: Portrait of a Recent Founder Event Behar, D. M.; Metspalu, E.; Kivisild, T.; Achilli, A.; Hadid, Y.; Tzur, S.; Pereira, L.; Amorim, A.; Quintana-Murci, L.; Majamaa, K. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HUMAN GENETICS VOL 78; NUMB 3 (2006) pp. 487-497  Both the extent and location of the maternal ancestral deme … Read more

annual review of ecology + systematics

It may possibly be an indictment of my happy geekitude that I get as excited about a new “Annual Review” as other people get about, say, swimsuit issues of magazines. Annual Review of Ecology & Systematics 2005 has papers on: Fluctuating asymmetry, the evolution of polyandry, model selection in phylogenetics, the evolution of cooperation, and … Read more

paper: artificial cultural market

A new paper in Science [link]: Experimental Study of Inequality and Unpredictability in an Artificial Cultural Market by Salganik et al. In a web experiment, the researchers created an artificial database of music (from unknown bands) and allowed people to download songs after rating them. In some conditions, people could see which songs had been … Read more

paper: blondes have more… fear?

That’ll be the newspaper taglines, at least. Behavioural inhibition in young children appears to be more frequent in blue-irised American children, and now in blond(er) German children. The putative link is made between melanocyte-stimulating hormones and cortisol (stress-related) stimulators as the underlying mechanism. Interesting stuff, and will no doubt be picked up on for its … Read more

paper: echolocation in bats

Once upon a time I considered becoming an evolutionary bat biologist1. Bats are cool. They’re close to primates on the mammal phylogeny, they have interesting social systems, and some of them have astoundingly sophisticated echolocation systems. Gareth Jones and Emma Teeling have a paper in TREE: The evolution of echolocation in bats, discussing the phylogenetic … Read more

articles from PNAS

Of interest: 1. A modelling paper demonstrating the effects of the global airline network on the spread of epidemic diseases such as SARS. Colizza et al, abstract here. 2. Population genetics paper demonstrating the clustering of human genetic gradients in ancient centres of agricultural origin, and clustering near to coastlines. Amos & Manica, abstract here.