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Evolution and Darwin

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A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 18-Dec-2014 2:00 PM EST

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Human DNA Shows Traces of 40 Million-Year Battle For Survival Between Primate and Pathogen

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Examination of DNA from 21 primate species – from squirrel monkeys to humans – exposes an evolutionary war against infectious bacteria over iron that circulates in the host’s bloodstream. Supported by experimental evidence, these findings, published in Science on Dec. 12, demonstrate the vital importance of an increasingly appreciated defensive strategy called nutritional immunity.

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Decoding the Tree of Life: UF Geneticist Contributes to Groundbreaking Study of Bird Evolution

GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Nature abhors a vacuum, which may explain the findings of a new study showing that bird evolution exploded 65 million years ago when nearly everything else on earth -- dinosaurs included -- died out.

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Breakthrough Solves Centuries-Old Animal Evolution Mystery

Researchers have developed a method for spying on the activity of every gene within a cell at once. The breakthrough allows them to determine the order in which the three layers of cells in animal embryos evolved. Other applications include cancer research.

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Parasites and the Evolution of Primate Culture

Learning from others and innovation have undoubtedly helped advance civilization. But these behaviours can carry costs as well as benefits. And a new study by an international team of evolutionary biologists sheds light on how one particular cost – increased exposure to parasites – may affect cultural evolution in non-human primates.

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Predators and Isolation Shape the Evolution of ‘Island Tameness,’ Providing Conservation Insights

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Charles Darwin noted more than 150 years ago that animals on the Galapagos Islands, including finches and marine iguanas, were more docile than mainland creatures. He attributed this tameness to the fact that there are fewer predators on remote islands.

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Moffitt Cancer Center Researchers Use Evolutionary Principles to Model Cancer Mutations, Discover Potential Therapeutic Targets

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers are taking a unique approach to understanding and investigating cancer by utilizing evolutionary principles and computational modeling to examine the role of specific genetic mutations in the Darwinian struggle among tumor and normal cells during cancer growth.

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Out of India

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Working at the edge of a coal mine in India, a team of Johns Hopkins researchers and colleagues have filled in a major gap in science’s understanding of the evolution of a group of animals that includes horses and rhinos. That group likely originated on the subcontinent when it was still an island headed swiftly for collision with Asia, the researchers report Nov. 20 in the online journal Nature Communications.

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Why Lizards Have Bird Breath

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Biologists long assumed that one-way air flow was a special adaptation in birds driven by the intense energy demands of flight. But now University of Utah scientists have shown that bird-like breathing also developed in green iguanas – reptiles not known for high-capacity aerobic fitness. The finding bolsters the case that unidirectional bird-like flow evolved long before the first birds.

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