The study of evolutionary mechanisms in operation at the molecular scale, primarily DNA, RNA, and proteins.

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Separate replication origin and terminus vs making them one and the same

The classical picture of bacterial reproduction has a replication origin on one side of the circular chromosome and a replication termination area on the opposite end. This essentially creates two ...
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48 views

What came first? The DNA or the DNA polymerases?

I know this sounds a lot like chicken and egg question and while the latter has an answer, I am intrigued about the former. A modified form of the question would be, in the course of abiogenesis, ...
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How is “fine mapping of pelvic regulatory region” done in the stickleback PitX1 paper?

I'm working through this paper for a class. I'm a bit confused by the methods they used in one experiment. So the researchers are studying spine development in stickleback fish. They noticed some ...
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29 views

What genetic link would cause a human to have a extra vertebra?

Most people have five vertebrae in their lumbar (lower back) region, which are named L1 to L5. However, some people possess an additional lumbar vertebra located below the L5. This extra vertebra, ...
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2answers
120 views

Why do nerve cells convert electric signals to chemical signals?

One would assume that a faster response time in the nervous system would be beneficial. However, nerve cells have to convert electrical impulses to chemical signals and cross a synapse. Why didn't ...
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11 views

Which should I use the genes of the mitochondrial DNA? [closed]

What should I use for phylogenetic analysis of the genes of the fungus? Which should I use the genes of the mitochondrial DNA?
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47 views

Using evolution of bacteria against themselves

We know that mutations happen regularly in bacteria and also that one bacteria might get the mutation and become stronger than the others and thus survive, causing antibiotic resistance as well. Can ...
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40 views

Does the new virus tree of life change their position between living and non-living things?

Viruses still do not fit the criteria of living or it's simplest form (the living cell), why would some say that the new virus tree of life makes it more closer to life? Aren't mitochondria in a point ...
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60 views

Have there been any macro-evolution experiements?

I'd like to start first by saying that I don't believe in creationism at all, nor any non-Darwinian-evolution explanation of the diversity of life on Earth. The theory, the fossil record, and the ...
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Two 20 million yr old fossils of Hummingbirds found "The amazing thing about the fossil is that it's essentially a modern hummingbird

does this only mean that the Hummingbird is perfect in creation and needs no change to survive? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3691169.stm
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40 views

Evolution of blood types [duplicate]

What are the popular theories regarding how our blood divided into 4 groups. Particularly I'm interested in whether this was originally linked to disease. Thanks for your answers, useful articles and ...
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79 views

Junk DNA and “random” mutations [closed]

I'm somewhat irritated by "mutation" generally being described as a fully random factor in evolution: pure randomness does not seem like something that can survive in a long evolutionary process. And ...
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104 views

Evolution of the Redundancy of the Genetic Code

In short Looking at the genetic code, it appears that most redundancy is on the third letter rather than on the first or the second letter of the codon. Why has it evolved this way? Longer version ...
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86 views

What is the point at which abiogenesis is complete and evolution begins? [closed]

Is the minimum criterion for life a single cell? It seems that self-replicating RNA is not enough, but I don't know. What would be the most basic cell that could fit this criterion and what cells ...
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1answer
70 views

How do minute changes in an organism, as a result of evolution, get carried over to next generation

Theory of evolution states that random variations in organisms occur to better suit their surroundings. We take for example a bacteria's flagella. There's a bacteria who has a tube kind of structure ...
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167 views

Non Coding DNA and its effect on evolution

I had a discussion with a friend of mine; from his understanding, bacteria and other small organisms have higher amounts of "coding" DNA and, as such, are able to evolve much faster than organisms ...
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Do The Traces Genetic Diseases Remain in families?

I know that there are certain diseases that are predominant on genes. But, is there any sort of surety that if parents are suffering from a disorder then their offspring has to suffer from the same. ...
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29 views

What factors, other than its homochirality, make our “brand” of biology unique? [closed]

If humans were to discover organisms on another planet, it is supposed that (unless both we and they were seeded by the same source) we would have nothing to fear from alien pathogens, as they would ...
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311 views

What is the relationship between radiation and evolution?

There is always a certain amount of background radiation present, for example due to ionizing radiation from the sun and other stars. Also certain materials like granite may emit relatively large ...
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78 views

How can (or did) Deinococcus radiodurans continue to evolve after developing resistance to mutation?

Deinococcus radiodurans has a remarkable ability to resist damage to its DNA due to radiation, dehydration or (to my knowledge) any other source. It keeps multiple copies of its genome and has a ...
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1answer
63 views

What is the minimum functional biological light sensor? [closed]

As a follow up to this question regarding the evolution of the eye, it was suggested that primitive eyes only needed to evolve a light sensor and could perhaps use the existing biochemical cascade ...
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4answers
3k views

Why are there both stop and start codons?

Based on my understanding from wikipedia, there is the (RNA) start codon AUG and the stop codons UAA, UGA, UAG. AUG can also encode Methionine, I'm assuming if it appears in the middle of a mRNA ...
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43 views

If you are God, how would you create an efficient priming reaction? [closed]

Imagine that you are “natural selection” (or God if you prefer) and you can reconstitute replication changing the concentrations or the properties (higher/lower activity; reactivity; etc.) of the ...
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Formation of Life

Originally, life evolved from non-living matter. Why is life only generated from other life nowadays, and why doesn't it evolve from inanimate matter, like it did originally billions of years ago, ...
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Why is mRNA needed in the Protein translation?

The original question was to predict the basic requirements for information storage. Then the discussion moved to why is it necessary to include mRNA in the protein translation process. Why can't ...
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38 views

What genetic distance model should be used when calculating genetic differences in Arelquin?

I'm using Arelquin to look at the genetic structure between a number of different populations. I want to compare the populations by producing pairwise FST values, however I don't know what model for ...
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175 views

The origin of molecular machines

DNA holds genetic information and holds the key to the evolution of living organisms. Transcription and translation mechanisms enable living cells to process information encoded in DNA. To that end, ...
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Mechanisms of genotype*sex interactions [closed]

I'm looking for suggestions of the mechanistic level at which genotype*sex interactions can occur. These give different phenotypes from the same genotype dependent on the sex they are expressed in. ...
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120 views

Evidence & discussions of hard polytomy

Phylogenetic trees with >2 branches on a node are polytomic, and polytomy can appear on trees for two reasons. Firstly a lack of information in the data prevents proper resolution within a clade, ...
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105 views

At what rate do chromosomal rearrangements occur?

How often does chromosomal rearrangements occur? i.e. what is the rate of chromosomal rearrangements? I am interested about these kind of chromosomal rearrangements that are passed on to the ...
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262 views

When did CRISPR/Cas9 evolve and what is the likelihood that a superior system for live cell genome editing has already evolved on earth since then?

I've read that CRISPR/Cas9 is currently being implemented and tested for its ability to edit genomes in live cells, and that it is supplanting other genome editing tools in labs, such as TALENs and ...
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140 views

Is the heterotroph hypothesis universally accepted?

I was wondering whether there are hypotheses that take a different approach that is contrary to the heterotroph hypothesis. The heterotroph hypothesis states that autotrophs evolved from heterotrophs ...
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57 views

Odds of Fusion of Chromosome #2

There is strong evidence that chromosome 2 in humans is a fusion of two chimp chromosomes (i.e. common ancestor of chimps and humans) as explained at wikipedia here The question is what are the odds ...
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46 views

Heterochromatin production limitations

Currently playing with some ideas for a project and needed some guidance. I am wondering, both in Drosophila melanogaster and in general, is the amount of heterochromatin a cell/nucleus can produce ...
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177 views

A question about the intersection of evolution and thermodynamics

From this 2014 article in Quanta magazine by Natalie Wolchover there is a quote from a physicist with an intriguing idea about evolution: “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine ...
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Converting Ensembl Compara gene tree DNA alignment to corresponding amino acid alignment

I have Ensembl compara gene tree alignments (Compara.gene_trees.57.fasta.gz downloaded from ftp://ftp.ensembl.org/pub/release-57/emf/ensembl-compara/homologies/) in nucleotide format. According to ...
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112 views

Inbreeding depression and dominance

From this article, second paragraph of the second page A classic theoretical result is that the mean of a character controlled by a single locus i with two alleles Ai1 and Ai2 is only affected by ...
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1answer
67 views

Coefficient of relationship and path of coefficient

A path of coefficient of relationship is defined as $$\rho_{AO} = \left( \frac{1}{2}\right)^n \sqrt { \frac{1+f_A}{1+f_O}}$$ This SE post discusses this definition From this, the coefficient of ...
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59 views

Inbreeding Coefficient and Coefficient of Relationship

Wikipedia gives the following formula to calculate a "path of coefficient of relationship" between an ancestor $A$ and an offspring $O$: $$\rho_{AO} = 2^{-n} \left( \frac{1+f_A}{1+f_O} \right)^{1/2} ...
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56 views

Book Recommendation: Complex Traits and Complex Genetic Architecture

I am looking for a book (or any good source of information) that offers an in-depth discussion and models about the evolution and analysis of complex traits and complex genetic architecture. Do you ...
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2answers
100 views

Is there a name for this principle in biological contexts?

This is mostly a question about usage. There is a probability-related idea that has been used in at least two biological contexts. The idea is that if something happened, it was probably likely to ...
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3answers
156 views

Book recommendations for evolutionary models

I was recently working on getting a statistical model of a DNA sequence. To do this I found that understanding evolution quantitatively seems to be quite important. I would really appreciate any book ...
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126 views

Book suggestion on computational molecular evolution

I'm currently reading Computational Molecular Evolution by Yang. Can you recommend alternative books? I am finding it to be lacking on conceptual discussion (it's more focussed on the mathematics and ...
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94 views

Selection on linked loci in a diploid population

Let’s consider two linked loci $A$ and $B$ that are both bi-allelic. In consequence, we have four different possible haplotypes $A_1B_1$, $A_1B_2$, $A_2B_1$, $A_2B_2$, which frequencies are $X_1$, ...
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128 views

Mutation rate in viruses

Mutation rate is a phenotypic trait that evolves. The process of evolution of such kind of traits are often referred to as evolvability. I am wondering about the evolution of the mutation rates in ...
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49 views

How far in evolutionary distance is the P-distance estimator “accurate”?

I'm reading Yang's computational molecular evolution and in the very first chapter it says the P distance is a "simplistic distance measure" between two sequences. It is the number of different sites ...
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1answer
59 views

Evolutionary conservativeness

List the following proteins in the order of decreasing evolutionary conservativeness of their primary structure: Somatotropin. Catalytic subunit of a DNA – polymerase. Histone H1. ...
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2answers
128 views

How much DNA of mitochondrial origin is incorporated in main cell's DNA?

And especially three points : in which chromosomes is it located (especially for the human case) ? how do we know about it ? does the proportion and composition vary a lot from one eukaryot to ...
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231 views

Why and how does complexity usually tends to increase through time?

The question of complexity is classic in the very first lectures of evolutionary biology where the teacher usually tries to tell the students that complexity does not necessary increases and that ...
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Why, specifically, does each generation, on average, improve upon the design of the species rather than degrade it?

In every non-life example I can envision, a copy of a copy is always a degraded or less pure version of the original unless some outside influence acts to correct the copy back toward the ideal ...