Tag Archives: evolution

Can the chloroplast division machinery be evolutionarily dated back to bacteria?

The chloroplast, known to have originated around a billion years ago, is now one of the most recognizable characteristics of the plant cell. After the engulfment of the ancient cyanobacterium by the eukaryotic host cell, the former

Mitochondrial gene discontinuity that translates into fragmented functional proteins

The majority of protein-coding genes in nuclear genomes are interrupted by spliceosomal introns or, less often, by inteins. These intervening sequences are spliced at the RNA or protein level, respectively, so that intact proteins become reconstituted. In

Many solutions to the same problem – cellular response to environmental challenges

When in contact with a hot object, our immediate response is to withdraw our hand. This instinctive reaction is an example of how external environment shapes our actions. In a similar fashion, bacteria are constantly monitoring and

Coevolutionary games and dynamic fitness landscapes: A synthesis?

A main feature of Darwinian evolution is that success in survival and reproduction is directed by selective pressure and entails competition among individuals. In other words, it is largely justified to recognize the proverbial survival of the

What we know of evolution of the pelvis and walking upright

As children grow, the shape of the spine slowly changes from a C-shape in a newborn into a double-S-shape during adulthood. In the field of medicine, research has shown that the exact shape of this double-S is

New turtle fossils from Uinta Basin represent last documented members of the extensive Baenidae radiation

The baenid turtles were an extinct clade of North American freshwater river turtles with an extensive radiation spanning from the early Cretaceous (125 million years ago) to the middle Eocene (40 million years ago). More than 30

How birds breathe: Did evolution finally get it right?

Flight and the efficiency of the respiratory system Powered (active) flight is a defining lifestyle trait of birds. Showing the exacting evolutionary requirements for flight, powered flight has only ever developed in insects, the extinct pterodactyls, birds

Rain, rain go away, little amoebas want to race

Soil living amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum has been used as a leading model organism for studying eukaryotic cell differentiation and directional cell migration. These functions are interconnected: starved Dictyostelium cells form multicellular aggregates by directional cell migration, and

Migration led to the microevolution of Chinese short fat-tailed Sheep

China has a long history of sheep domestication and rich resources of sheep breeds. Based on tail type, the Chinese domesticated sheep can be divided into five types: short fat-tailed sheep, long fat-tailed sheep, short thin-tailed sheep,

The evolutionarily conserved role of Sp1 in appendage morphogenesis

Despite millions of years of independent evolution, some aspects of vertebrate and arthropod development share striking similarities. For example the appendages of a mouse and of a fly, at the naked eye doesn’t seem to share too

Cornification derived from keratinization through the addition of new epidermal proteins to keratins

Differentiation of epidermal cells in vertebrates takes place by high production of structural proteins termed keratins that belong to cytoskeletal proteins indicated as Intermediate Filaments (α – keratins). The epidermis of vertebrates is a multilayered epithelium that

Molecular mechanism of phenotypic plasticity

Darwinian evolution is considered to be the way that life adapts in every possible environment in Earth. The great evolutionary biologist of the past century Theodosius Dobzansky used to say: “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in

The arms really can give the legs a helping hand in rehabilitation of human walking

The emergence of upright, bipedal walking is a characteristic of human evolution that separate us from our quadrupedal cousins—other animals. The upright walking posture freed our hands so that we could perform skilled tasks like signaling, carrying,

Repelling water and dirt: superhydrophobic biological surfaces and biomimetic innovations

Life evolved over the last 3.5 billion years: a continuous process of mutation and selection – or trial and error. Today we know of some 1.8 million different species – but assessments indicate the existence of over

A new way to trace evolutionary history by pairwise alignment only

Genomes and genes change during evolution leading to the observed biodiversity in many colors and shades. This genealogical (phylogenetic) relationship is recorded in DNA and can be reconstructed by molecular phylogenetics and expressed in a tree with

Developing strategies for engineering efficient biocatalysts for the industrial production of chiral compounds

The market of chiral pharmaceuticals and of other fine chemicals for the fragrance and plant-protecting industries is a global multi-billion dollar business which is steadily growing. In general, only one of the enantiomers, the (R) or the

TSPO, bond of ages

In the microbic world of about 3.5 billion years ago, unicellular eukaryotes (organisms with cell nuclei) started to form a symbiosis with prokaryotes (organisms without cell nuclei). These prokaryotes were bacteria that could breath oxygen, whereas the

Early land plants evolved a simple but effective mechanism to place stomata away from each other

Stomata are one of the key evolutionary features responsible for the successful colonization of land by plants. A stoma is a pore surrounded by a pair of guard cells, when these cells are turgid and inflated the

How does fever work? As a non-specific stressor

Despite the spectacular discoveries in immunology and recent biotechnological advances, amazingly there has been no consensus on how fever functions to help control infections. Does the heat of fever act as an immune stimulant, or does it

How to build a communication system for cells

Single cell organisms, such as amoebae, are able to live independently without the need for extracellular communication systems. However, multicellular organisms, such as insects, fish and mammals, require systems that permit individual cells to communicate to one