A new study reveals genetic changes that affect social behavior in chickens. We have a number of phrases that relate human behavior to that of chickens; for example, when you accuse someone of acting “chicken,” you’re likely calling them a coward. If someone is running around like a chicken with their head cut off, they’re probably frantic and disorganized. The reality of chicken behavior is, of course, more complex than these cliches; chickens naturally live in groups and exhibit many of the same social behaviors that other animals do, like anxiety and seeking out friends. Some chickens are more sociable...


Although epigenetic modifications contribute to trait variability, their effect pales in comparison to standing genetic variation. The raw material of evolution is genetic variation, but proponents of the “extended evolutionary synthesis” add a new layer to this model: heritable variation in epigenetics. The packaging and tagging of DNA can alter traits without changing the DNA sequence, and in some cases, these changes can be inherited across generations. Can this epigenetic variation play a role in adaptation? Though this question is still under debate, a report published in G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics suggests that the influence of epigenetic variation on trait variability may...


We’re taking time over the following weeks to get to know the members of the GSA’s Early Career Scientist Committees. Join us every week to learn more about our early career scientist advocates.           Carla Bautista Rodriguez Communication and Outreach Subcommittee Université Laval Research Interest Until relatively recently, the thought of extraterrestrial life seemed like science fiction, but we’ve since discovered that the limits of life are much greater than we thought. We’ve detected organisms in inhospitable places like in Antarctica, thermal springs, volcanoes, and hypersaline zones. We need to explore the evolutionary mechanisms that lead to...


Image: Scrabble pieces spelling "data" by Janneke Staaks via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0 license.

Offshoot of the modENCODE project provides crucial data and strains for understanding gene regulation. Following a multidisciplinary effort spanning six institutions, researchers working on the modERN (model organism Encyclopedia of Regulatory Networks) project have released a powerful resource for biologists studying the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. So far, report Kudron, Victorsen, et al., the project has yielded information about the interactions of 262 transcription factors (TFs) with 1.23 million binding sites in flies, along with 219 TFs with 670,000 binding sites in worms—all of which can be found in a searchable database organized by gene...


#PEQG18 in Haiku

May 20, 2018

Attendees of the Population, Evolutionary, and Quantitative Genetics Conference are a creative bunch.  Inspired by one of the PEQG Bingo challenges, they bombarded Twitter with more than 50 #PEQG18 haikus (and one limerick), providing poetic snippets of the meeting to those who couldn't make it. Joining the 17-syllable summaries were fantastic sketch notes of the meeting by scientist/artist April Wei. Below are a couple of the haikus, including a few of the non-tweeted bingo entries. Enjoy and feel free to share your own science haikus using #sciku! Rats in NYC able to follow their dreams with selective sweeps —Markus Stetter on "How...