From cavefish to humans: Evolution of metabolism in cavefish may provide insight into treatments for a host of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke

New research examines how cavefish developed unique metabolic adaptations to survive in nutrient-scarce environments. The study created a genome-wide map of liver tissue for two independent colonies of cavefish along with river fish to understand how cavefish metabolism evolved and how this may be applicable for humans.

Brains and brawn helped crows and ravens take over the world

Crows and ravens are well known for their black color and the harsh “caw” sound they make. They are intelligent birds that use tools, solve complex abstract problems and speak a volume of words. But what is less well appreciated is how diverse they are. Their diversity is accompanied by their ability to live all over the world in a variety of habitats.

Natural History Museum of Utah releases Triceratops Traits, a new investigation for middle school science classes

In Triceratops Traits, students work alongside paleontologists to solve an evolutionary mystery by analyzing and interpreting data from the fossil record under the premise that natural laws have operated the same throughout the history of life on Earth to fit 7th grade learning standards in Utah and 6th-8th grades around the U.S.

Over 1,700 book reviews of Charles Darwin’s works go online

A compilation of over 1,700 contemporary book reviews of Charles Darwin’s works, in 16 languages and spanning the years 1835 to the early 20th century was launched online. The collection of book reviews has been added to Darwin Online, a comprehensive scholarly website on Darwin. This new resource gives a comprehensive picture of the diversity in responses to Darwin’s work.

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.