Evolutionary Biology

Humans Have Faster Metabolism Than Closely Related Primates, Enabling Larger Brains

Loyola University Chicago researchers are among the co-authors of a groundbreaking study that found humans have a higher metabolism rate than closely related primates, which enabled humans to evolve larger brains. The study, published in the journal Nature, found that humans also have a higher percentage of body fat, providing the energy reserves to fuel their faster metabolism. The findings…

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Analysis of Dog Genome Will Provide Insight Into Human Disease

New research published today in PLOS ONE reveals an improved annotation of microRNAs in the dog genome to further understand its biological role. Providing a platform for future studies into biomedicine, evolution and the domestication of important animals including dogs, cows, horses and pigs. This discovery provides a significant opportunity not only to enhance our understanding of how miRNAs regulate…

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From Genome Research: Human evolution fast-tracked by mutations from anti-viral enzyme

Evolution is thought to proceed through the gradual accumulation of independent mutations in each new generation. In a study published online today in Genome Research, researchers analyzing hominid genomes have discovered thousands of clustered mutations likely resulting from the coordinated activity of APOBEC enzymes, leading to accelerated changes in DNA. Mutations occur through a variety of mechanisms, including mutagenic agents…

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Western Lowland Gorilla Genome Mapped with New Level of Accuracy

The genome of the Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla ssp. gorilla) has been sequenced at a high level of quality beginning to approach that of the human genome, says a team of scientists led by Prof. Evan Eichler from the University of Washington. Prof. Eichler and his colleagues used long-read sequencing technology, along with a unique combination of algorithms, to…

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Scientists Produce Map of Neanderthal, Denisovan Ancestry in Present-Day Humans

Dr. David Reich from Harvard Medical School and his colleagues have produced a world map of Denisovan and Neanderthal ancestry in 120 diverse populations. Their analysis proposes that Denisovan admixture into humans occurred about 100 generations after Neanderthal admixture.  Dr. Reich and co-authors collected their data by comparing known Neanderthal and Denisovan gene sequences across more than 250 genomes from…

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Are We What We Eat?

In a new evolutionary proof of the old adage, ‘we are what we eat’, Cornell University scientists have found tantalizing evidence that a vegetarian diet has led to a mutation that — if they stray from a balanced omega-6 to omega-3 diet — may make people more susceptible to inflammation, and by association, increased risk of heart disease and colon…

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