Infectious disease in colonising population

A new study in Evolution Letters experimentally investigated how population dynamics in colonising populations influence the evolution of infectious disease. Here, lead author Louise Nørgaard describes the experimental approaches that led to the group's interesting findings. Infectious disease is a major threat to human and wildlife well-being and epidemiological theory helps us understand how a … Continue reading Infectious disease in colonising population

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Genetic and evolutionary consequences of range expansion revealed

A new study published in Evolution Letters examines how mating systems have been shaped by historic biogeographic events. Lead author Matt Koski explains the findings and what they tell us about evolutionary responses to global climate change. Historic climate oscillations have been a driving force in shaping the geographic distribution of species. During the last … Continue reading Genetic and evolutionary consequences of range expansion revealed

Predation drives divergence in sticklebacks

A new study in Evolution Letters provides experimental evidence that predation drives changes in threespine stickleback armor traits. Here, author Dr Diana Rennison describes her experiment and its interesting results. For quite some time it has been known that differences in ecological factors between habitats drive evolutionary divergence and can lead to the generation of … Continue reading Predation drives divergence in sticklebacks

The role of mobile genetic elements in evolution and development

A new study in Evolution Letters suggests that transposable elements are important for both developmental processes and evolutionary diversification in snakes and lizards. Author Dr Nathalie Feiner explains her findings in our latest blog. Mobile DNA sequences – transposable elements or TEs for short – are found in the genome of virtually all organisms. As … Continue reading The role of mobile genetic elements in evolution and development

Switching up your pollinator can have unexpected side effects

A study published in Evolution Letters shows that hummingbird pollination is a surprisingly rare trait across the perennial wildflower genus Penstemon, despite a large number of Penstemon lineages having switched during their evolutionary history to attract hummingbird pollinators instead of bees. Here, the study's author Dr Carolyn Wessinger tells us more about her findings. Many species of … Continue reading Switching up your pollinator can have unexpected side effects

The real Paleo Diet: tracing 800 million years of evolution in animal diets

In our new author blog, Professor John Wiens describes the first ever study of the evolution of diet across all animals. One of the most fundamental aspects of the biology of an animal species is the type of food that it eats.  Animals have a remarkable diversity of diets and of lifestyles that are associated … Continue reading The real Paleo Diet: tracing 800 million years of evolution in animal diets

Fishes famed for being bony have soft spot

Eli G. Cytrynbaum, Clayton M. Small, and Charles B. Kimmel, authors of a new study in Evolution Letters, explain how their discovery of the "extended osteoid" – a nonmineralised bone matrix – influences our understanding of morphological evolution in bony fish. Sculpins are benthic fish in the superfamily Cottoidea famed for their boniness. Often a bane … Continue reading Fishes famed for being bony have soft spot

Plasticity in sperm sex ratios: the how and “Y” of male-driven sex allocation

A new study published in Evolution Letters reveals that when male house mice develop in a male-biased environment, they go on to produce more Y-bearing sperm as adults – making them more likely to produce sons. Here, author Dr Renee Firman tells us the story behind her fascinating research. Research on offspring sex allocation has … Continue reading Plasticity in sperm sex ratios: the how and “Y” of male-driven sex allocation

Mutation accumulation in old growth trees: the raw material for natural selection

In our new author blog, Vincent Hanlon & Professor Sally Aitken explain how high rates of somatic mutation can influence the evolution of long-lived trees. The apical meristems of plants consist of somatic cells that behave in some ways as though they were part of a segregated germline. They give rise to gametes, they divide … Continue reading Mutation accumulation in old growth trees: the raw material for natural selection

Two thirds of morphological changes in Drosophila are evolutionarily repetitive

A new study published in Evolution Letters has shed light on the limits of morphological evolution. Here, author Amir Yassin tells us more. Nearly 150 years ago, Charles Darwin exalted about the ‘endless forms’ of life that evolution has produced. However, recent studies have indicated that several biological forms repeatedly evolved in distant lineages, such as … Continue reading Two thirds of morphological changes in Drosophila are evolutionarily repetitive