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… Continue reading A new talk on Darwin’s abominable mystery

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… Continue reading Adam and Eve: lessons learned

“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,… Continue reading “Abundant bioactivity” of random DNA sequences?

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,… Continue reading The evolutionary mystery of orphan genes

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… Continue reading Phenotypic plasticity drives cichlid radiations?