COLOR KEY: Artificial Life; Origin of Life, Eukaryotes, Organelles;
Origin/Evolution of Prokaryotes, Viruses, Introns, etc.
Ancient Birds; Dinosaurs; Other Ancient Reptiles
Human Origins and Evolution; Domestication
Other Evolutionary Biology
Political, Religious, and Educational Issues
Wong , 2006 Dec. Lucy's Baby. Scientific American (December 2006) "An amazing skeleton from 3.3 million years ago renews debate over the evolution of upright walking."
Royo-Torres et al., 2006 Dec 22. A Giant European Dinosaur and a New Sauropod Clade. Science 314:1925-1927. "A giant sauropod, representing a new clade of dinosaurs, inhabited Europe in the Late Jurassic and appears to be more primitive than New World giant sauropods."
?, 2006 Dec 07. Evolutionary biology: Caught right-handed. (restricted access) Nature 444:689. "Are two penises better than one? Not so, implies a study of doubly endowed earwigs. An ancestral behavioural preference for the right penis might have facilitated the loss of the left in species that arose later."
Roumagnac, 2006 Nov 24. Evolutionary History of Salmonella Typhi. Science 314:1301-1304. "A large survey of the bacterial strain that causes human typhoid fever suggests that it spread globally during epidemics and persists in asymptomatic carriers."
?, 2006 Nov 23. Anti-evolutionists raise their profile in Europe. (restricted access)Nature 444:406. "The teaching of alternative theories to evolution in schools is not just an issue in the United States. Almut Graebsch and Quirin Schiermeier assess whether creationism is threatening science in Europe."
Al-Khalili, 2006 Nov 23. Life in the universal porridge. Nature 444:423. "What were the chances that the conditions in the Universe would be just right for life?"
Book Review of The Goldilocks Enigma: Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life? by Paul Davies.
Lambert and Millar, 2006 Nov 16. Evolutionary biology: Ancient genomics is born. Nature 444:275. "The reality of a complete Neanderthal genome draws near, as two papers report the sequencing of large amounts of Neanderthal DNA. The results will help to answer some central questions on human evolution."
Queller, 2006 Nov 02. Evolutionary biology: To work or not to work. Nature 444:42. "Coercion, not kinship, often determines who acts altruistically in an insect colony. But underlying affinities for kin emerge when coercion is removed: kin selection is what turns suppressed individuals into altruists."
Poinar and Danforth, 2006 Oct 27. A Fossil Bee from Early Cretaceous Burmese Amber . Science 314:614. "A fossil bee carrying traces of pollen in 100-million-year-old amber shows that bees originated in the Cretaceous at a time of rapid diversification of angiosperms."
Janvier, 2006 Oct 26. Palaeontology: Modern look for ancient lamprey. Nature 443:921. "It was once thought that lampreys evolved from armoured jawless vertebrates. But a recently discovered lamprey fossil dates from the twilight age of their supposed ancestors, and looks surprisingly modern."
Miller et al., 2006 Oct 20. Direct Demonstration of an Adaptive Constraint . Science 314:458-461. "The intrinsic properties of a leucine biosynthetic enzyme can prevent the test-tube evolution of seemingly adaptive traits—increased catalysis rate, for example."
Nicholls, 2006 Oct 19. A life online. Nature 443:746. "Darwin is the latest eminent scientist to get an online archive. How do these undertakings change our understanding of history?"
Bruns, 2006 Oct 19. Evolutionary biology: A kingdom revised. Nature 443:758. "An international consortium of researchers has produced an impressive new tree of life for the kingdom Fungi. The results are a testament to cooperation between systematists with different expertise."
Delson and Harvati, 2006 Oct 19. Palaeoanthropology: Return of the last Neanderthal. (restricted access) Nature 443:762. "New finds from Gibraltar date Mousterian tools to as recently as 28,000 years ago. By inference, their Neanderthal makers survived in southern Iberia long after all other well-dated occurrences of the species."
Moses, 2006 Oct 12. Evolutionary biology: Fly eyes get the whole picture. Nature 443:638. "The compound eyes of ancestral flies picked up only one picture point in each facet. The evolution of a means to split up the light-sensitive cells increased this number to seven, boosting the eye's resolution greatly."
Biémont and Vieira, 2006 Oct 05. Genetics: Junk DNA as an evolutionary force. Nature 443:521. "Transposable elements were long dismissed as useless, but they are emerging as major players in evolution. Their interactions with the genome and the environment affect how genes are translated into physical traits."
Rokas, 2006 Sep 28. Different paths to the same end. (restricted access)Nature 443:401. "Genetic dissection of a yeast gene-regulatory pathway shows that the logical output of such a pathway can remain the same even though the molecular mechanisms underlying the output have diverged remarkably."
?, 2006 Sep 21. The history man. Nature 443:268. "Maurice Taieb laid the groundwork for the discovery of Lucy, the most famous fossil human ancestor. Rex Dalton meets the Tunisian-born geologist who prefers the desert to the limelight."
Wood, 2006 Sep 21. A precious little bundle. Nature 443:278. "The three-million-year old skeleton of a three-year-old child provides an outstanding resource to understand the development of a human ancestor that seems to have both walked upright and climbed through trees."
Ponting and Lunter, 2006 Sep 14. Evolutionary biology: Human brain gene wins genome race. Nature 443:149. "The differences in brain size and function that separate humans from other mammals must be reflected in our genomes. It seems that the non-coding 'dark matter' of genomes harbours most of these vital changes."
Smith, 2006 Sep 07. Reflections on Wallace. Nature 443:33. "An unpublished paper has recently come to light, which shows that even at an early age, Alfred Russel Wallace was bold enough to approach the scientific establishment with his ideas."
Gerstein and Zheng, 2006 Aug. The Real Life of Pseudogenes. (restricted access) Scientific American (August 2006). "Disabled genes, once dismissed as detritus on the genomic landscape, trace the path of evolution--and may not always be entirely dead."
Cohn, 2006 Aug 31. Making the paper. (restricted access) Nature 442:xi. "Fish fossils and sharks offer clues to the origin of vertebrate limbs."
?, 2006 Aug 31. Rude palaeoanthropology. (restricted access)Nature 442:957. "Controversies over Homo floresiensis reflect a flourishing science."
Patel, 2006 Aug 03. How to build a longer beak. Nature 442:515. "Evolutionary changes in the beaks of Darwin's finches have been instrumental in the adaptive radiation of these birds. The molecular basis for variation in beak size and shape is opening up to investigation."
?, 2006 Jul 20. Palaeoanthropology: Decoding our cousins. Nature 442:238. “DNA extracted from bones could shed light on what happened when our ancestors crossed paths with Neanderthals. But not everyone can get the fossils out of the ground, as Rex Dalton learns.”
Bengtson, 2006 Jul 13. Palaeontology: A ghost with a bite. Nature 442:146. “Witness a snail scraping microbial films from the inside of an aquarium. Go back 505 million years, and this looks to have been the way an enigmatic early animal made its living (but without the aquarium).”
Peñalver et al., 2006 Jun 23. Early Cretaceous Spider Web with Its Prey. Science 312:1761. “A spider web with entrapped wasps and a beetle within 110-million-year-old amber documents that web-spinning spiders had already evolved.”
Garb et al., 2006 Jun 23. Silk Genes Support the Single Origin of Orb Webs. Science 312:1762. “Sequence analyses of the genes for spider silk proteins show that orb-webs, which allow spiders to catch flying prey, have a single, ancient origin in the late Jurassic.”
Hamilton, 2006 Jun 08. Virology: The gene weavers. (restricted access) Nature 441:683. “Viruses are often thought of as simple creatures. But their staggering diversity and genetic promiscuity could make them the most creative force in evolution.”
Awramik, 2006 Jun 08. Palaeontology: Respect for stromatolites. Nature 441:700. “Is it time to stop worrying over whether the ancient structures called stromatolites are of microbial origin? 'Yes' is the answer to emerge from field and lab work on a 3,430-million-year-old marine ecosystem.”
Pearson, 2006 May 25. Genetics: What is a gene? Nature 441:398. "The idea of genes as beads on a DNA string is fast fading. Protein-coding sequences have no clear beginning or end and RNA is a key part of the information package."
?, 2006 May 25. Genetics: Paramutable possibilities. Nature 441:413. "A curious genetic phenomenon allows certain genetic instructions to be passed between generations without the gene variants involved being transmitted. Some spotty mice provide clues to how this might happen."
Qiu, 2006 May 11. Epigenetics: Unfinished symphony. Nature 441:143. To correctly 'play' the DNA score in our genome, cells must read another notation that overlays it — the epigenetic code. A global effort to decode it is now in the making."
Wray, 2006 April 20. Evolution: Spot on (and off). Nature 440:1001. "The repeated appearance and loss of a spot on the wings of fruitflies during their evolution is caused by mutations in one gene. This finding provides an unprecedented window on the genetics of convergent evolution."
Sebastián, 2006 April 20. Apesteguía and Zaher. Nature 440:1037. A Cretaceous terrestrial snake with robust hindlimbs and a sacrum.
Ahlberg and Clack, 2006 April 06. Palaeontology: A firm step from water to land. Nature 440:747. "A project designed to discover fossils that illuminate the transition between fishes and land vertebrates has delivered the goods. At a stroke, our picture of that transition is greatly improved."
Tanno and Willcox, 2006 Mar 31. How Fast Was Wild Wheat Domesticated? Science 311:1886. "The abundance of wild shattered wheat spikelets in archaeological sites in the Near East implies that domestication of cereals started early but proceeded slowly."
Li et al., 2006 Mar 31. Rice Domestication by Reducing Shattering. Science 311:1936-1939. "The retention of rice grains on the plant after ripening—a trait important for domestication—is the result of a single nucleotide change in a transcription factor gene."
?, 2006 Mar 16. Palaeontology: Scales, feathers and dinosaurs. Nature 440:287. "A fossil dinosaur that 'nests' with feathered relations in the dinosaur phylogenetic tree did not, it seems, have feathers. The discovery will encourage a re-evaluation of feather evolution."
Nielsen, 2006 Mar 09. Comparative genomics: Difference of expression. Nature 440:161. "Evolutionary studies tend to focus on alterations in proteins. But evolutionary change can often occur through modified gene expression, a process that is now under investigation with species-specific microarrays."
Ferber, 2006 Feb 24. Preyed Upon, Hominids Began to Cooperate. Science 311:1095. "Our hominid ancestors actually lived as prey rather than predators, a researcher argued at the AAAS annual meeting, held here from 16 to 20 February. And our past as prey, he speculates, laid the foundations of society by forcing those ancestors to live together peacefully in groups."
Gee, 2006 Feb 23. Evolution: Careful with that amphioxus. Nature 439:923. "The textbook tale of vertebrate origins is brought into question by phylogenetic analyses of new genomic data. But the amphioxus, long viewed as a precursor to fish, remains a central character in events."
Holtz, 2006 Feb 16. Palaeontology: A Jurassic tyrant is crowned. Nature 439:665. "A newly discovered species of dinosaur, characterized by a wonderfully elaborate head crest, is the oldest known member of the lineage that culminated in Tyrannosaurus rex more than 90 million years later."
Russell, 2006 Jan-Feb. First Life. American Scientist (January-February 2006). "Billions of years ago, deep under the ocean, the pores and pockets in minerals that surrounded warm, alkaline springs catalyzed the beginning of life."