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Tag: evolution

An adaptive gut microbiome might have shaped human evolution

An adaptive gut microbiome might have shaped human evolution

Science
Feb. 19 (UPI) -- How did human beings end up as one of the most successful species on Earth? New research suggests the unique nature of the human microbiome may have shaped human evolution and the dispersal of humans across the globe. For the study, published Wednesday in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, an interdisciplinary team of scientists compiled a range of previously published research in order to compare the microbiota among humans, apes and other non-human primates. Their findings showed the microbes found on and inside humans are especially unique. "Humans have strange skin microbes, strange stomachs (with consequences for gut microbes), unusual vaginal microbiomes and more," lead study author Rob Dunn, ecologist at North Carolina State University, told UPI in a...
Division of mitochondria, key to animal evolution, is similar across species

Division of mitochondria, key to animal evolution, is similar across species

Science
Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Scientists knew mitochondrial division is present across different species, but researchers weren't sure how exactly mitochondrial division is conserved -- or even whether it divides the same way in different organisms. Now, researchers have shown that the genes powering mitochondrial replication, or division, a key component of animal evolution, are conserved across different species. The endosymbiotic theory, an evolutionary theory, holds that more complex organisms called eukaryotes evolved from primitive single-celled organisms known as prokaryotes. Researchers have previously shown that mitochondria, the cellular organelles responsible for energy production, originated in prokaryotic bacteria, but were adopted by eukaryotes. The conservation of similar mitochondrial...
Teeth help scientists trace evolution of great white shark family to Middle Jurassic

Teeth help scientists trace evolution of great white shark family to Middle Jurassic

Science
July 5 (UPI) -- By surveying the composition of great white shark teeth, researchers were able to trace the evolutionary origins of the mackerel shark family, Lamniformes, to a small benthic shark from the Middle Jurassic. In addition to the great white, the Lamniformes family features the biggest shark in history, Megalodon, as well as the fastest modern shark, the mako shark. But according to a new study -- published this week in the journal Scientific Reports -- the group's oldest ancestor was a small bottom feeder that lived 165 million years ago. Scientists were able to track the family's evolutionary origins after discovering a unique characteristic of great white shark teeth. Shark teeth feature a hard shell composed of a hypermineralized tissue called enameloid, like enamel in hu...
Scientists deploy directed evolution to create new antibiotics

Scientists deploy directed evolution to create new antibiotics

Science
May 10 (UPI) -- Scientists have developed a better way to build new antibiotics. Using a method known as directed evolution, researchers successfully synthesized beta-lactams, a molecular structure used to create antibiotics. Most antibiotics, including the most famous antibiotic, penicillin, are anchored by beta-lactams. Traditionally, scientists create beta-lactams by taking a chain-like molecule and affixing one end of the chain to its middle, forming a loop. Usually, scientists are forced to patch extra pieces onto molecules to build beta-lactams. Without the extra components, the resulting beta-lactams tend to be inconsistent in size. Some get tied too short, others tied too long -- forming an undesirable mix of small and large loops. Adding on extra pieces promotes consistency, but...
Evolution of the mammalian arm predates the dinosaurs

Evolution of the mammalian arm predates the dinosaurs

Science
March 19 (UPI) -- Mammals boast an unprecedented diversity of forelimbs, allowing mammalian species to adopt a variety of lifestyles and adapt to a wide range of habitats. According to a new study, the earliest mammalian predecessors began evolving unique forelimbs 270 million years ago, 30 million years before the first dinosaurs arrived. "Aside from fur, diverse forelimb shape is one of the most iconic characteristics of mammals," Jacqueline Lungmus, a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago and a research assistant at the Field Museum, said in a news release. "We were trying to understand where that comes from, if it's a recent trait or if this has been something special about the group of animals that we belong to from the beginning." When Lungmus and Field Museum curator Ken...