Natural v. Artificial Selection
Last week I published a short article in Molecular Ecology on evidence for natural selection. It has proven difficult to show natural selection occurring in real time in wild populations. New approaches may help, and these are being pioneered in studies of Soay sheep. While commenting on these new approaches, I make several general points […]
A new talk on Darwin’s abominable mystery
Last evening I spoke for the Reading Geological Society on Darwin’s “abominable mystery”: the origin of flowering plants. My previous talks and publications (here and here) on this topic have focused mainly on the nineteenth century. In this new talk, I outlined twentieth century efforts to solve the mystery, which is something I continue to […]
Adam and Eve: lessons learned
This blog was first posted at Nature Ecology & Evolution Community on 14 April 2018 Preliminary conclusions about the possibility of a short, sharp human bottleneck A few months ago I asked this community if modern genome science had tested an “Adam and Eve” hypothesis that the human lineage has passed through short, sharp bottleneck […]
“Abundant bioactivity” of random DNA sequences?
This blog was written for the Nature Ecology and Evolution Community where it is posted here. Probing the claims of a recent study Readers of this blog will be aware of the recent Nature Ecology and Evolution paper entitled “Random sequences are an abundant source of bioactive RNAs or peptides”. Rafik Neme, the first author, […]
The evolutionary mystery of orphan genes
Every newly sequenced genome contains genes with no traceable evolutionary descent – the ash genome was no exception This week in Nature I and my co-authors published the ash tree genome. Within it we found 38,852 protein-coding genes. Of these one quarter (9,604) were unique to ash. On the basis of our research so far, […]
Phenotypic plasticity drives cichlid radiations?
At the Royal Society last month, I was listening to proponents of the “extended evolutionary synthesis” (EES). Patrick Goymer has blogged this meeting for Nature Ecology & Evolution, and tweets from it can be found on Storify. The debates have rumbled on in the back of my mind since, especially the contention that phenotypic plasticity […]