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Evolutionary Biology

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Canine Evolution (our workers and pets!)

Epigenetics and Evolution. + Author Affiliations ↵ Epigenetic mechanisms traditionally have been studied in the domains of development and disease, but they may also play important roles in ecological and evolutionary processes. In this article, we revisit historical as well as recent studies that indicate significant impacts of epigenetic processes on evolution. Our main focus is DNA methylation, which is a prevalent chemical modification of genomic DNA. First, it has been long known that DNA methylation acts as a major mutational facilitator in animal genomes and influences nucleotide compositions of genomes. More recently, genome-wide analyses have demonstrated that the current levels of DNA methylation can be predicted from the evolutionary signatures of DNA methylation, indicating that these two processes are intimately correlated. . © The Author 2014. Bed bugs bite back thanks to evolution.

Resource library : Evo in the news : Bed bugs bite back thanks to evolutionSeptember 2010 Where's the evolution? What's to be done if you wind up the unhappy bunkmate to a nest of these pests? In the past, the answer was simply to spray with a pesticide. Unfortunately, that response is less effective than it used to be — not because the pesticides used today are weak — but because bed bugs have evolved resistance to the most commonly used chemicals. The top choice for bed bug infestations are two related groups of chemicals that are both toxic and repellent to the bugs: pyrethrins, which are extracted from chrysanthemum plants, and pyrethroids, the synthetic versions of those chemicals.

These compounds work by attacking the nervous system. So, how do resistant bed bugs survive pyrethroid spraying? The key to this process of natural selection is having the right genetic variation in the insect population. And evolve rapidly they have! Read more about it Primary literature: Yoon, K. Bedbug genome uncovers biology of a pest on the rebound - Purdue University. February 2, 2016 WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University researchers participated in a multi-institute project that sequenced the genome of the common bedbug, a blood-sucking insect that has reemerged globally as a hardy pest capable of withstanding most major classes of insecticides.

The genome of Cimex lectularius uncovers the genetic underpinning of bedbugs' unique biology and offers new targets for controlling them. Purdue entomologists Ameya Gondhalekar and Michael Scharf contributed to the international effort by annotating the bugs' antioxidant genes, which detoxify the blood they ingest and likely play a role in disarming certain types of insecticides. "Bedbugs were the ignored pests for many decades, but their sudden prevalence has sparked interest in developing better bedbug control measures and knowing more about their biology," said Gondhalekar, an assistant professor of entomology.

"The genome provides a much-needed platform for answering these questions at a deeper level. " New theory on cause of endometriosis. 7-Mar-2014 [ Print | E-mail ] Share [ Close Window ] Contact: Marla 312-503-8928Northwestern University Changes to two previously unstudied genes are the centerpiece of a new theory regarding the cause and development of endometriosis, a chronic and painful disease affecting 1 in 10 women. The discovery by Northwestern Medicine scientists suggests epigenetic modification, a process that enhances or disrupts how DNA is read, is an integral component of the disease and its progression. Matthew Dyson, research assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and and Serdar Bulun, MD, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, also identified a novel role for a family of key gene regulators in the uterus.

The findings were recently published in PLoS Genetics. "These findings have the potential to shift how we view and treat the disease moving forward," Bulun said. Epigenetic Feedback Regulation Accelerates Adaptation and Evolution. A simple cell model consisting of a gene regulatory network with epigenetic feedback regulation is studied to evaluate the effect of epigenetic dynamics on adaptation and evolution. We find that, the type of epigenetic dynamics considered enables a cell to adapt to unfamiliar environmental changes, for which no regulatory program has been prepared, through noise-driven selection of a cellular state with a high growth rate. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the inclusion of epigenetic regulation promotes evolutionary development of a regulatory network that can respond to environmental changes in a fast and precise manner.

These results strongly suggest that epigenetic feedback regulation in gene expression dynamics provides a significant increase in fitness by engendering an increase in cellular plasticity during adaptation and evolution. Figures Citation: Furusawa C, Kaneko K (2013) Epigenetic Feedback Regulation Accelerates Adaptation and Evolution. Editor: Miguel A. Introduction Model . Evolution.