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After the Crash: Genomic Marks of the Bird Super-Radiation

August 18, 2015

After the Crash: Genomic Marks of the Bird Super-Radiation

A study of ancient genetic variation by Alexander Suh, Linnea Smeds and Hans Ellegren reveals genomic evidence for near-simultaneous speciation at the base of Neoaves (a group containing most modern birds), which temporally coincides with the mass extinction of nonavian dinosaurs and archaic birds. Read the Synopsis

Image credit: Alexander Suh and Jon Fjeldså

08/07/2015

Research Article

Interspecies Mating and Whole-Genome Duplication

A new study by Marina Marcet-Houben and Toni Gabaldón presents evidence for the occurrence of an interspecies hybridization event shortly before the famous ancient whole-genome duplication in the baker's yeast lineage, with deep implications for the functional and evolutionary consequences of this genome doubling. Read the Primer by Kenneth Wolfe.

Image credit: Iris Joval Granollers

Interspecies Mating and Whole-Genome Duplication

08/14/2015

research article

How Brains Identify Unchanging Scenery

A study of mice and humans by Kenta Funayama, Yuji Ikegaya and colleagues shows that prior activity in the visual cortex induces a long-delayed depolarization that enhances perception of subsequent visual stimuli if these are identical to the previous one, thereby extracting invariant visual features from the constantly changing visual world.

Image credit: Brockhaus & Efron Encyclopedic Dictionary

How Brains Identify Unchanging Scenery

08/12/2015

research article

Spatiotemporal Spike Coding of Behavioral Adaptation

A study of the decoding of spike trains from the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex by Laureline Logiaco, Angelo Arleo and co-workers reveals that spike timing is relevant for cognitive information transmission and behavioral prediction; this suggests that downstream areas are unlikely to act as mere neural integrators.

Spatiotemporal Spike Coding of Behavioral Adaptation

Image credit: Flickr user Marieke IJsendoorn-Kuijpers

08/13/2015

Research Article and synopsis

Detecting (and Clamping) Homologous DNA Strands

Marcel Ander, Erik Schäffer and colleagues reveal how, during the annealing of single-stranded DNA molecules, homologous regions are first bound by monomers and subsequently secured by dimerization of single-strand annealing proteins, thereby triggering the growth of the nucleoprotein filament. Read the Synopsis.

Detecting (and Clamping) Homologous DNA Strands

Image credit: Marcel Ander

08/07/2015

research article and synopsis

Making a Primate-Like Brain: Role of Sustained Pax6 Expression

Fong Kuan Wong, Ji-Feng Fei, Wieland Huttner and colleagues show that "humanizing" the expression of the transcription factor Pax6 in cortical progenitors in the developing mouse brain is sufficient to endow these progenitors with a primate-like proliferative capacity. Read the Synopsis.

Making a Primate-Like Brain: Role of Sustained Pax6 Expression

Image credit: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002217.g010

08/07/2015

Perspective

Parental Vaccine Concerns: Engagement, Balance & Timing

A growing number of parents in the USA are hesitant to vaccinate their children. This Perspective proposes that we need intervention strategies to address this issue.

Parental Vaccine Concerns: Engagement, Balance & Timing

Image credit: Sarah Kaiser via flickr user Juhan Sonin

07/27/2015

research article

A New Canal in Nicaragua: Lessons from Panama

Objections have been raised to a new canal in Nicaragua, but this Essay argues that the project could help fund environmental protection and modernize employment in this largely rural country.

A New Canal in Nicaragua: Lessons from Panama

Image credit: Flickr user Colleen Morgan

07/27/2015

Research Article

Leaky Vaccines Can Favor Emergence of Virulent Strains

A study of a disease of poultry shows that by reducing natural selection against virulent strains, imperfect vaccination enables the spread of viral strains that would otherwise be too lethal to persist.

Leaky Vaccines Can Favor Emergence of Virulent Strains

Image credit: Flickr user Garrett Heath