How rattlesnakes got, and lost, their venom

Millions of years ago, as the snake family tree grew new branches, the ancestor of modern rattlesnakes was endowed with a genetic arsenal of toxic weaponry, including genes for toxins that poison the blood, toxins that damage ...

Smarter brains are blood-thirsty brains

A University of Adelaide-led project has overturned the theory that the evolution of human intelligence was simply related to the size of the brain—but rather linked more closely to the supply of blood to the brain.

GAGA may be the secret of the sexes—at least in insects

Without a way to equalize the gene expression of the two sex chromosomes—males have XY and females have XX—gender could never have evolved. Scientists are still discovering many details on how the sexes came to be, but ...

Ancient gene network helps plants adapt to their environments

The only constant is change. In evolution, there are, however, some exceptions. While the enormous diversity of life suggests that organisms are constantly being refitted with new or modified parts, many of the tools used ...

Silk-weaving ant study sees new behavior

A James Cook University Professor's study of silk-weaving ants is promising to change our understanding of how all creatures work together.

'Sleeping dogs' threaten the genome as we age

The genomes of many organisms, humans included, are littered with repetitive sequences of DNA called retrotransposons. In a new "Perspective" in the journal Science, four biologists write that while most retrotransposons ...

Why the urge to find 'Nemo' has helped fish diversify

Caring parents foster successful offspring, or so the thinking goes. But for reef fishes, such as Disney's charismatic clownfish, Nemo, the effects of parental care stretch right across evolutionary time and even increase ...

Out of Eurasia, a great primate evolutionary bottleneck?

On the road to our modern human lineage, scientists speculate there were many twist and turns, evolutionary dead ends, and population bottlenecks along the way. But how large were population sizes of common ancestors of the ...

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