Friday, July 18, 2014

On the Speed of Evolution: The New Science of Evolutionary Forecasting

Newly discovered patterns in evolution may help scientists make accurate short-term predictions.  Full article here~ http://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20140717-the-new-science-of-evolutionary-forecasting 

Also, go back to a previous related blog post  http://cultureplaces.blogspot.com/2010/09/more-on-near-term-evolution.html






Doebeli’s bacteria echoed the evolution of lizards in the Caribbean. Each time the lizards arrived on an island, they diversified into many of the same forms, each with its own set of adaptations. Doebeli’s bacteria diversified as well — and did so in flask after flask....
To get a deeper understanding of this predictable evolution, Doebeli and his postdoctoral researcher, Matthew Herron, sequenced the genomes of some of the bacteria from these experiments. In three separate populations they discovered that the bacteria had evolved in remarkable parallel. In every case, many of the same genes had mutated....

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How Much Do Our Genes Influence Our Political Beliefs?

By Tom Merle on Thursday, July 10, 2014 at 10:52am
Thomas Edsall CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER The New York Times

 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/opinion/thomas-edsall-how-much-do-our-genes-influence-our-political-beliefs.html?src=me&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Most%20Emailed&pgtype=Blogs

How Much Do Our Genes Influence Our Political Beliefs?

It’s been a key question of American politics since at least 1968: Why do so many poor, working-class and lower-middle-class whites — many of them dependent for survival on government programs — vote for Republicans?

The debate over the motives of conservative low-income white voters remains unresolved, but two recent research papers suggest that the hurdles facing Democrats in carrying this segment of the electorate may prove difficult to overcome.

In “Obedience to Traditional Authority: A heritable factor underlying authoritarianism, conservatism and religiousness,” published by the journal Personality and Individual Differences in 2013, three psychologists write that “authoritarianism, religiousness and conservatism,” which they call the “traditional moral values triad,” are “substantially influenced by genetic factors.” According to the authors — Steven Ludeke of Colgate, Thomas J. Bouchard of the University of Minnesota, and Wendy Johnson of the University of Edinburgh — all three traits are reflections of “a single, underlying tendency,” previously described in one word by Bouchard in a 2006 paper as “traditionalism.” Traditionalists in this sense are defined as “having strict moral standards and child-rearing practices, valuing conventional propriety and reputation, opposing rebelliousness and selfish disregard of others, and valuing religious institutions and practices.”