Archive for the ‘evolution’ category: Page 12

Feb 27, 2020

Meat and Nicotinamide: A Causal Role in Human Evolution, History, and Demographics

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, food, life extension, neuroscience

Circa 2017

Hunting for meat was a critical step in all animal and human evolution. A key brain-trophic element in meat is vitamin B3 / nicotinamide. The supply of meat and nicotinamide steadily increased from the Cambrian origin of animal predators ratcheting ever larger brains. This culminated in the 3-million-year evolution of Homo sapiens and our overall demographic success. We view human evolution, recent history, and agricultural and demographic transitions in the light of meat and nicotinamide intake. A biochemical and immunological switch is highlighted that affects fertility in the ‘de novo’ tryptophan-to-kynurenine-nicotinamide ‘immune tolerance’ pathway. Longevity relates to nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide consumer pathways. High meat intake correlates with moderate fertility, high intelligence, good health, and longevity with consequent population stability, whereas low meat/high cereal intake (short of starvation) correlates with high fertility, disease, and population booms and busts. Too high a meat intake and fertility falls below replacement levels. Reducing variances in meat consumption might help stabilise population growth and improve human capital.

Keywords: Meat, nicotinamide, evolution, NAD(H), vitamin B3, Malthus, fertility, immunological tolerance, longevity.

Continue reading “Meat and Nicotinamide: A Causal Role in Human Evolution, History, and Demographics” »

Feb 25, 2020

Billion-year-old green algae is an ancestor of all plants on Earth

Posted by in categories: evolution, food

Life on Earth is dependent on photosynthesizing plants and algae for food, yet land plants did not evolve until about 450 million years ago, Tang said. “The new fossil suggests that green seaweeds were important players in the ocean long before their descendants, land plants, took control,” he said.

These fossils came from an ancient ocean, but there is still a debate about where green algae originated. “Not everyone agrees with us; some scientists think that green plants started in rivers and lakes, and then conquered the ocean and land later,” Xiao said in a statement.

Moreover, green algae isn’t the oldest algae on record. “There is strong fossil evidence that red algae existed over a billion years ago, and we know the red and green algae diverged from a common ancestor,” Gibson told Live Science in an email. “So, although this doesn’t fundamentally change the way I’ll think about the evolution of life, the discovery of this green algal fossil helps fill an important gap and strengthens an emerging timeline for the evolution of early, complex life.”

Feb 22, 2020

The next chapter for African genomics

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics, surveillance

The rest of the world is interested, too. Africa contains much more genetic diversity than any other continent because humans originated there. This diversity can provide insights into human evolution and common diseases. Yet fewer than 2% of the genomes that have been analysed come from Africans. A dearth of molecular-biology research on the continent also means that people of African descent might not benefit from drugs tailored to unique genetic variations. Infectious-disease surveillance also falls short, meaning that dangerous pathogens could evade detection until an outbreak is too big to contain easily.

Nigeria is poised to become a hub for genetics research, but a few stubborn challenges block the way.

Feb 21, 2020

Earliest interbreeding event between ancient human populations discovered

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics

For three years, anthropologist Alan Rogers has attempted to solve an evolutionary puzzle. His research untangles millions of years of human evolution by analyzing DNA strands from ancient human species known as hominins. Like many evolutionary geneticists, Rogers compares hominin genomes looking for genetic patterns such as mutations and shared genes. He develops statistical methods that infer the history of ancient human populations.

In 2017, Rogers led a study which found that two lineages of ancient humans, Neanderthals and Denisovans, separated much earlier than previously thought and proposed a bottleneck population size. It caused some controversy—anthropologists Mafessoni and Prüfer argued that their method for analyzing the DNA produced different results. Rogers agreed, but realized that neither method explained the genetic data very well.

“Both of our methods under discussion were missing something, but what?” asked Rogers, professor of anthropology at the University of Utah.

Feb 18, 2020

Origin of life: A Darwinian machine for non-living objects

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution

Life is usefully defined on the basis of process: Any set of entities that participates in the process of evolution by natural selection is alive. But how does evolution by natural selection—and thus life—get started? The answer is far from obvious. Lack of insight haunts origins of life research and plagues understanding of the major evolutionary transitions, including the transition from cells to multicellular life.

In a new paper published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, a team led by Paul Rainey at ESPCI Paris and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology provides a solution. Adopting a inspired from earlier and on-going experiments, Rainey and his team show how ecological circumstances can kick-start life, both from the get-go, and also at each of the major evolutionary transitions.

For entities to participate in the process of evolution by natural selection, entities need to be discreet and vary one to another, entities must replicate and offspring must resemble parental types. These basic Darwinian properties (variation, reproduction and heredity) are such fundamental features of life that it is easy to take their existence for granted. But as Black et al point out, Darwinian properties are derived and require evolutionary explanation. In the absence of any manifestation of heritable variance in fitness evolution is governed by chance alone and the road out of randomness difficult to conceive.

Feb 14, 2020

Biotech’s Wizard Of Wall Street : Fred Frank At The Forefront of Investment

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, life extension

Wall Street’s Biotech Investment Wizard — On this most recent ideaXme (http://radioideaxme.com/) episode, I was honored to be joined by my friend, and biotech / pharma / healthcare investment banker extraordinaire, Frederick Frank, to talk about his 50-year career history behind the industry’s mega-deals — #Ideaxme #Biopharma #Biotech #WallStreet #Mergers #Acquisitions #VentureCapital #Genentech #Roche #BristolMyersSquibb #PrivateEquity #Health #Wellness #Longevity #Regeneration #LifeExtension #Aging #IraPastor #Bioquark #Regenerage

Ira Pastor, ideaXme exponential health ambassador, interviews Fred Frank, Founder and Chair of Evolution Life Science Partners, an investment bank focused on the needs of life sciences and healthcare companies.

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Feb 12, 2020

People who understand evolution are more likely to accept it

Posted by in category: evolution

People who understand evolution are more likely to accept it, study shows. #DarwinDay

Feb 8, 2020

Expansion of known ssRNA phage genomes: From tens to over a thousand

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics


The first sequenced genome was that of the 3569-nucleotide single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) bacteriophage MS2. Despite the recent accumulation of vast amounts of DNA and RNA sequence data, only 12 representative ssRNA phage genome sequences are available from the NCBI Genome database (June 2019). The difficulty in detecting RNA phages in metagenomic datasets raises questions as to their abundance, taxonomic structure, and ecological importance. In this study, we iteratively applied profile hidden Markov models to detect conserved ssRNA phage proteins in 82 publicly available metatranscriptomic datasets generated from activated sludge and aquatic environments. We identified 15,611 nonredundant ssRNA phage sequences, including 1015 near-complete genomes. This expansion in the number of known sequences enabled us to complete a phylogenetic assessment of both sequences identified in this study and known ssRNA phage genomes. Our expansion of these viruses from two environments suggests that they have been overlooked within microbiome studies.

Viruses, particularly bacteriophages targeting prokaryotes, are the most diverse biological entities in the biosphere (1, 2). Currently, there are 11,489 genome sequences available in the NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information) Viral RefSeq database (version 94). The vast majority of known phage have a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genome (3, 4). Recent metagenomic analysis of 145 marine virome sampling sites identified 195,728 DNA viral populations, highlighting that only a fraction of Earth’s viral diversity has been characterized (5). An additional expansion of known phage populations by Roux et al. (6) revealed that not only dsDNA phages but also single-stranded DNA Inoviridae are far more diverse than previously considered. The rapid expansion in viral discovery through metagenomics is enabling a greater understanding of their roles within environments and their evolutionary relationships, which is subsequently causing a revolution in phage taxonomy (7).

Continue reading “Expansion of known ssRNA phage genomes: From tens to over a thousand” »

Feb 2, 2020

The Health Past Of Mummies: Evolutionary Medicine Insights For Human Diseases Now

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics, life extension

Evolutionary Medicine — Linking human pathology with our past, present, and future evolutionary trajectories — ideaXme (http://radioideaxme.com/) welcomes Prof. Dr. Frank Rühli, Director of the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich — #Ideaxme #EvolutionaryMedicine #Evolution #Microevolution #Paleopathology #BiologicalAnthropology #ComparativeAnatomy #Mummies #Mummy #Hypercholesterinemia #Diabetes #DrugAddiction #Health #Wellness #Regeneration #Longevity #Aging #IraPastor #Bioquark #Regenerage

Ira Pastor, ideaXme exponential health ambassador, interviews Professor Dr. Frank Rühli, Director of the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine and on the Medical Faculty of University of Zurich, and Founding Director, Chair, Full Professor of Evolutionary Medicine.

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Jan 23, 2020

Genome Sequencing and Analysis of the Tasmanian Devil and Its Transmissible Cancer

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics

The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), the largest marsupial carnivore, is endangered due to a transmissible facial cancer spread by direct transfer of living cancer cells through biting. Here we describe the sequencing, assembly, and annotation of the Tasmanian devil genome and whole-genome sequences for two geographically distant subclones of the cancer. Genomic analysis suggests that the cancer first arose from a female Tasmanian devil and that the clone has subsequently genetically diverged during its spread across Tasmania. The devil cancer genome contains more than 17,000 somatic base substitution mutations and bears the imprint of a distinct mutational process. Genotyping of somatic mutations in 104 geographically and temporally distributed Tasmanian devil tumors reveals the pattern of evolution and spread of this parasitic clonal lineage, with evidence of a selective sweep in one geographical area and persistence of parallel lineages in other populations.

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