FAU Receives NSF Grant to Explore Trait Evolution Across Species

The NSF grant will enable scientists to elucidate trait evolution across species using statistical and supervised machine learning approaches to vigorously and accurately predict general and specific evolutionary mechanisms that also will be applicable to various genomic and transcriptomic data for evolutionary discovery.

University of Washington researchers discover four dinosaurs in Montana

A team of paleontologists from the University of Washington excavated four dinosaurs in northeastern Montana this summer. The four dinosaur fossils are: the ilium of an ostrich-sized theropod; the hips and legs of a duck-billed dinosaur; a pelvis and limbs from another theropod; and a Triceratops specimen.

Darwin’s short-beak enigma solved

University of Utah biologists discovered that a mutation in the ROR2 gene is linked to beak size reduction in numerous breeds of domestic pigeons. Surprisingly, different mutations in ROR2 also underlie a human disorder called Robinow syndrome. The ROR2 signaling pathway plays an important role in the craniofacial development of all vertebrates.

The history of insects living on the open ocean tracked with the history of the currents they ride

The open oceans are harsh and hostile environments where insects might not be expected to thrive. In fact, only one insect group, ocean skaters, or water striders, has adapted to life on the open seas.

How these insects evolved to conquer the high seas, however, was not known.

Now, a study of the genetics of skaters by scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego provides a clue. The answer has to do with when major currents in the eastern Pacific Ocean came into existence with each species of skater evolving to match the unique conditions of those currents.

Evolutionary ‘time travel’ reveals enzyme’s origins, possible future designs

“The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion,” Albert Einstein wrote. Now, researchers have used evolutionary “time travel” to study how an enzyme has evolved, with implications for future design. They will present their results at ACS Fall 2021.

FAU Researcher Receives $1.8 Million NIH ‘Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award’

Raquel Assis, Ph.D., associate professor, College of Engineering and Computer Science, and a fellow of FAU’s Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention, has received a five-year, $1.8 million “Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award” from the NIH. The goal of this early career award is to enhance the ability of investigators to take on ambitious scientific projects and approach problems more creatively.

Rapid evolution in waterfleas yields new conservation insights

The extraordinary ability of animals to rapidly evolve in response to predators has been demonstrated via genetic sequencing of a waterflea population across nearly two decades. In a new study, published in Nature Communications , scientists at the Universities of…

New evidence of menopause in killer whales

Scientists have found new evidence of menopause in killer whales – raising fascinating questions about how and why it evolved. Most animals breed throughout their lives. Only humans and four whale species are known to experience menopause, and scientists have…