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Groundbreaking CSU Study Finds Changing Environment Can Lead to Rapid Evolution

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Results of a groundbreaking Colorado State University study which were published this week in the journal Nature, show that guppies from transplanted populations initially respond to a lack of predators with coping mechanisms that include changes in the expression of genes in the brain; some of the changes were beneficial, while others were disadvantageous. When the researchers compared how the brains of the introduced guppies evolved to incorporate the initial coping responses, they found that the genes that exhibited the initially maladaptive responses evolved rapidly to allow future generations to thrive better in the new environment. The study, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, is being hailed as groundbreaking.

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EMBARGOED

A reporter's PressPass is required to access this story until the embargo expires on 7-Sep-2015 3:00 PM EDT

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Scientists Discover Key Clues in Turtle Evolution

A team led by NYIT Assistant Professor Gaberiel Bever has determined that Eunotosaurus africanus is the earliest known branch of the turtle tree of life

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FSU Researcher: Change in Environment Can Lead to Rapid Evolution

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A new study by Florida State University is showing that rapid evolution can occur in response to environmental changes.

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Evidence That Earth's First Mass Extinction Was Caused by Critters, Not Catastrophe

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In the popular mind, mass extinctions are associated with catastrophic events, like giant meteorite impacts and volcanic super-eruptions. But the world’s first known mass extinction, which took place about 540 million years ago, now appears to have had a more subtle cause: evolution itself. “People have been slow to recognize that biological organisms can also drive mass extinction,” said Simon Darroch, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at Vanderbilt University.

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Study Reveals Human Body Has Gone Through Four Stages of Evolution

Research into 430,000-year-old fossils collected in northern Spain found that the evolution of the human body’s size and shape has gone through four main stages, according to a paper published this week.

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Tail As Old As Time – Researchers Trace Ankylosaur’s Tail Evolution

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How did the ankylosaur get its tail club? According to research that traces the evolution of the ankylosaur’s distinctive tail, the handle arrived first on the scene, and the knot at the end of the tail followed.

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Research Team Creates Model to Predict Cellular Evolution

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Scientists have not been able to understand and predict how cells evolve in our bodies, and this process is important because evolving cell populations are at the core of drug-resistant infections and cancer development. Now a research team led by Gábor Balázsi, PhD, of Stony Brook University, has developed a synthetic biological model that validates computational predictions of how quickly and in what manner cells change in the presence or absence of a drug. Their findings are published in a paper in Molecular Systems Biology.

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Bacterial Infection Makes Farmers Out of Amoebae

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A bacterial infection turns non-farming social amoebae into farmers Washington University evolutionary biologists report in the August 24 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Female Fish Genitalia Evolve in Response to Predators, Interbreeding

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Female fish in the Bahamas have developed ways of showing males that “No means no.”

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When Fruit Flies Get Sick, Their Offspring Become More Diverse

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When fruit flies are attacked by parasites or bacteria they respond by producing offspring with greater genetic variability. These findings demonstrate that parents may purposefully alter the genotypes of their offspring to increase their chance of survival.

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IU Biologist Contributes to International Effort to Expand Theory of Evolution

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An Indiana University professor is part of an international team of biologists working to expand Darwin's theory of evolution to encompass factors that influence a species' growth and development beyond genetics -- as well as to consider the impact of species on the environment.

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Small Oxygen Jump in Atmosphere Helped Enable Animals Take First Breaths

Measurements of iron speciation in ancient rocks were used to construct the chemistry of ancient oceans. Analysis suggests that it took less oxygen than previously thought to trigger the appearance of complicated life forms.

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Evolution Not Just Mutation Drives Development of Cancer

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A paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences argues against the commonly held "accumulation of mutations" model of oncogenesis in favor of a model that depends on evolutionary pressures acting on populations of cells.

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Finding the Origins of Life in a Drying Puddle

Anyone who’s ever noticed a water puddle drying in the sun has seen an environment that may have driven the type of chemical reactions that scientists believe were critical to the formation of life on the early Earth.

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You Need This Hole in the Head ─ to Be Smart

University of Adelaide researchers have shown that intelligence in animal species can be estimated by the size of the holes in the skull through which the arteries pass.

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Study Discovers Human Hands May Be More Primitive Than Chimp's

Today, Nature is publishing a paper "The evolution of human and ape hand proportions," a study that discovers that human hands may be more primitive than chimp's.

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NM Professors, Graduate Explore Tiny, Complex Brain of Old World Monkey

The brain hidden inside the oldest known Old World monkey skull has been visualized for the first time with the help of two professors and a graduate from New Mexico State University. The ancient monkey, known scientifically as Victoriapithecus, first made headlines in 1997 when its fossilized skull was discovered on an island in Kenya’s Lake Victoria, where it lived 15 million years ago by NMSU anthropology professors Brenda Benefit and Monte McCrossin.

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Evolution Study Finds Recent Agricultural Pest Stems From One Fly Generation's Big Genetic Shift

A new study involving a Kansas State University entomologist reveals that the genes of a fruit fly that has plagued American apple producers for more than 150 years is the result of an extremely rapid evolutionary change.

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Exit Dinosaurs, Enter Fishes

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A pair of paleobiologists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego have determined that the world’s most numerous and diverse vertebrates ¬– ray-finned fishes – began their ecological dominance of the oceans 66 million years ago, aided by the mass extinction event that killed off dinosaurs.