Tuesday, June 21, 2005

537: DNA of Voles May Hint at Why Some Fathers Shirk Duties - New York Times

DNA of Voles May Hint at Why Some Fathers Shirk Duties. Researchers have identified a highly variable site in the vole genome which evolves as conditions change.

Evolution at work. The same control region also occurs in humans, chimps and bonobos (common descent!), so understanding that region will help us understand human evolution and the evolution of monogamy in humans.

The control region of the vasopressin receptor has highly variable lengths and different lengths cause males to spend different amounts of time with the offspring.

Sen. Roberts against Bolton recess appointment

ThinkProgress finds the quote that a recess appointment:

“would weaken not only Mr. Bolton but also the United States."

A recess appointment allows the president to "fill up all vacancies that may happen during a recess of the senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session."

Nice to see a little tiny bit of spine from Sen. Roberts.

534-536: Cnidaria

A nice piece in the New York Times about the evolution of cnidaria (hydra, jellyfish, anemones, etc). Research on their developmental genetics shows that the same genetic architecture that operates almost identically from mammals to flies is also at work in the cnidarians. Understanding their development and their phylogeny lets us see when they branched off as a unique group. By learning about the evolution of jellyfish, we learn about the evolution of all of life.