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Evolutionary genetics

Analysis and Comment (7)

A brittle star feeding off Lizard Island, Queensland. A brittle star feeding off Lizard Island, Queensland. J Finn/Museum Victoria

From brittle stars grows a ‘tree of life’: how genes trace life on Earth

A complete tree of life – showing how and when organisms are related to each other – has long been desired by biologists, but obscured by the vagaries of the fossil record. Now, next-generation gene sequencing…
Rather than there being a single ‘gay gene’, there may be many which contribute to sexual preference. Rather than there being a single ‘gay gene’, there may be many which contribute to sexual preference. Sasha Kargaltsev/Flickr

Born this way? An evolutionary view of ‘gay genes’

The claim that homosexual men share a “gay gene” created a furore in the 1990s. But new research two decades on supports this claim – and adds another candidate gene. To an evolutionary geneticist, the…
You can never be too safe. You can never be too safe. government_press_office

Households are new source of antibiotic-resistant superbug

Human skin is a garden of microbes which is home to about 1,000 bacterial species. Most are benign but some invade the skin and cause illness – and of these, antibiotic resistant bacteria are particularly…
It turns out guppy genital length is genetic – for females as well as males. It turns out guppy genital length is genetic – for females as well as males. Alice Chaos

Guppies and sexual conflict? It’s a genital arms race

It’s not always easy to tell if a fish is male or female: they look more or less the same. But there are exceptions, such as guppies and, as with humans, guppy genitalia varies in size across the species…
Your genetic make up interacts with what you eat to either promote or harm good health. Your genetic make up interacts with what you eat to either promote or harm good health. Mark Lucock

Nutrigenomics: how nutrition and genetics impact health

A month ago, I returned to Australia from a trip to Burma. After four weeks in the country, I’d acclimatised to the culture, cuisine and people. My conditioning was so complete that on my return, I was…
In order to drag themselves onto land, fish-like creatures needed limbs. In order to drag themselves onto land, fish-like creatures needed limbs. Thierrry

They came from the sea: the gene behind limb evolution

In the late Devonian period, roughly 365 million years ago, fish-like creatures started venturing from shallow waters onto land. Among the various adaptations associated with the switch to land life was…
Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte. Scanning electron micrograph of HIV-1 budding (in green) from cultured lymphocyte. CDC/ C. Goldsmith, P. Feorino, E. L. Palmer, W. R. McManus

HIV bolts past immune defences despite humble beginnings

Despite three decades of research, an HIV vaccine remains elusive. The main reason for this is the virus’s uncanny ability to evolve resistance to immune control, so understanding how the virus adapts…

Research and News (1)

Research Briefs (5)

Meet your ancestor, the shrew

Placental mammals like elephants, bats and humans evolved from small, insect-eating mammals, a study led by Stony Brook University…