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Timothy McDougald



Posts: 1008
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Sep. 16 2008,22:19   

Two open access articles from PNAS. First:

Molecular signatures of ribosomal evolution

Here is the abstract:

Quote
Ribosomal signatures, idiosyncrasies in the ribosomal RNA (rRNA) and/or proteins, are characteristic of the individual domains of life. As such, insight into the early evolution of the domains can be gained from a comparative analysis of their respective signatures in the translational apparatus. In this work, we identify signatures in both the sequence and structure of the rRNA and analyze their contributions to the universal phylogenetic tree using both sequence- and structure-based methods. Domain-specific ribosomal proteins can be considered signatures in their own right. Although it is commonly assumed that they developed after the universal ribosomal proteins, we present evidence that at least one may have been present before the divergence of the organismal lineages. We find correlations between the rRNA signatures and signatures in the ribosomal proteins showing that the rRNA signatures coevolved with both domain-specific and universal ribosomal proteins. Finally, we show that the genomic organization of the universal ribosomal components contains these signatures as well. From these studies, we propose the ribosomal signatures are remnants of an evolutionary-phase transition that occurred as the cell lineages began to coalesce and so should be reflected in corresponding signatures throughout the fabric of the cell and its genome.


Second:

Stage-specific predator species help each other to persist while competing for a single prey

The abstract:

Quote
Prey in natural communities are usually shared by many predator species. How predators coexist while competing for the same prey is one of the fundamental questions in ecology. Here, we show that competing predator species may not only coexist on a single prey but even help each other to persist if they specialize on different life history stages of the prey. By changing the prey size distribution, a predator species may in fact increase the amount of prey available for its competitor. Surprisingly, a predator may not be able to persist at all unless its competitor is also present. The competitor thus significantly increases the range of conditions for which a particular predator can persist. This “emergent facilitation” is a long-term, population-level effect that results from asymmetric increases in the rate of prey maturation and reproduction when predation relaxes competition among prey. Emergent facilitation explains observations of correlated increases of predators on small and large conspecific prey as well as concordance in their distribution patterns. Our results suggest that emergent facilitation may promote the occurrence of complex, stable, community food webs and that persistence of these communities could critically depend on diversity within predator guilds.


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