Evolution fun facts 3/3 – Sexual Conflict and genomic imprinting

Another conflict hiding under everybody’s eyes is something called sexual conflict. What we mean with this is the difference in strategy that mothers or fathers should take in sexual behaviours. This time, relatedness doesn’t have a big importance: both parents usually have r=0.5 with every offspring, but the conflict can arise because males get more…

Jaw Drop #6 -Did viruses make us?

I really want to talk about this Jaw Drop since I think people really don’t know about it. I feel it was really hard for me to get exposed to this idea, so I really want to share it with you. In my What’s in your genome? post we discussed the idea that every organisms’ DNA is…

Evolution fun facts 2/3 – Parent-offspring conflict and Siblicide

Like every theory we can make predictions and test them using Science. So according to Hamilton’s rule and Kin selection hypothesis we can formulate some predictions. The idea  behind the whole story is that an individual wants to propagate its own genes as much as possible in the next generations (maximize fitness). And it doesn’t…

Evolution fun facts 1/3 – Hamilton’s Rule and Inclusive fitness

I want to start a brief new post series about this pretty cool branch of biology, Ethology. This post may sound technical to some, but bear with me, I’m doing it only to be able to explain some cool stuff later on the series. We said multiple times that evolution tends to maximize reproductive success….

Muting questions #5 – Why do we age and die??

Welcome back to our Muting questions series, where just by reading the title we fall into despair and void due to the inability of answering the question, in principle so easy to answer. Let’s start with why it makes sense asking the question “Why do we age”. As any other physical or biological phenomenon, if…

The problem of Antibiotic resistance (and some solutions)

Another topic you probably have been hearing about a lot is the problem of antibiotic resistance. We are talking about a situation in which bacteria from all over the world are becoming more and more resistant to our antibiotics (the only way we have to kill them if necessary). And this is not only a…

Jaw Drop #5 – CRISPR/Cas9

With all the recent and less recent talks about genetic engineering, I think it’s easy to get lost into the topic. Modifying a genome, being bacterial or human, is definetly not a new tactic. We’ve been doing that for decades, what’s new is having found a very strong tool. CRISPRS/Cas9 mechanism is being increasing in…

Gene linkage as a tool to detect positive selection on genes

Whenever we think about evolution it’s always easier to think of it in a macroscopic perspective. It’s quite easy to grasp evolution actions looking at visible traits such as behaviours, skin color or disease resistance. But we have to understand that every traits is produced by one or a collection of genes working at the…

What’s in your genome?

With the new era of Genomics everybody know what a genome is. It’s an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its gene. It contains all the information needed to build and mantain the organism. Studying an organim’s genome is like partecipating in a treasure’s hunt: you have many hints and clues to get to…

Muting Questions #4 – What is life (and Species and Genes)?

It always amazes me how, sometimes, these ridiculously easy questions can be so ridiculously hard to answer. In this post in particular I want to propose three different example relevant in Biology: Life, Species and Genes. What amazes me even more than these answers is the fact that people don’t think enough about these questions!…