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Using phylogeny to test evolution

Science

Sequencing of whole genomes and obtaining information about gene transcription offer the promise to compare changes and variation in gene expression and function across species. However, Dunn et al. show that analyses of gene expression data that use pairwise comparisons across multiple species may not be able to distinguish between differing models of evolution. By examining published studies of how gene expression may change across species, they show that it is necessary to consider the mode of evolution--i.e., duplication generating paralogs or orthologous evolution through speciation--as well as the time since the species diverged. Thus, phylogenetic information is needed to discern commonalities and differences across species and among genes that share an ancestor but may have undergone different evolutionary trajectories.


[Perspective] Predicting the basis of convergent evolution

Science

Repeated evolution of similar traits in organisms facing the same ecological challenges has long captured the interest of evolutionary biologists (1–4). Naturally occurring examples of "convergent evolution" offer new opportunities to ask about predictability in evolution. Do complex genomes mean that there are endless possibilities for adapting to an ecological challenge? Or must evolution target the same genes, or even the same amino acids in the same proteins, in order to increase the fitness and therefore survival of different species facing similar challenges? Natarajan et al. (5), on page 336 of this issue, provide an example of an integrated approach to answer these questions.


We have the power to halt evolution itself – should we use it?

New Scientist

WHAT kind of force is evolution? You may see it as malevolent, benevolent or both, but chances are you will also think of it as monumental – long-term and large-scale. Over billions of years, evolution has created life on Earth from the giraffe's neck to an ape clever enough to contemplate how life evolves. Yet evolution can also be fast and furious. It is happening right here, right now – and it threatens the very future of civilisation (see "Outsmarting evolution: Fighting a force that threatens civilisation").


'Angry Birds Evolution' Review: Glimpse the Dark Heart of Branding

WIRED

In the seven years since you first played Angry Birds, French mobile game studio Rovio Entertainment has released 14 follow-ups. Yes, 14, only one of which you can call a sequel. The others included spinoffs, expansions, racing games, match-three games, shoot-em-ups, a Transformers tie-in, and two very angry Star Wars games. And now, after a European release last year, the latest installment has landed in the US: the turn-based role-playing game Angry Birds Evolution. I cannot fathom why it exists.


2018: The Evolution of HR

#artificialintelligence

The evolution of HR will require an entirely new skill set. HR pros will soon need financial, marketing, risk management and analytical skills in order to lead their organizations in a more data-driven, strategic way. As the role of HR changes to a more all-encompassing function, it will need to be armed with technology and infrastructure that facilitates this evolution.