Showing posts with the label evolution

Why Kenyan chameleons shine brighter in Hawaii

Image source: Jackson’s chameleons, a species of chameleon that was brought to Hawaii from a population in Kenya to be sold as pets. In a matter of decades, Jackson’s chameleons have populated the island of Hawaii and evolved in significant ways from their parent species, developing brighter colors to help in social interaction at the cost of being more conspicuous to predators. Martin J. Whiting is a professor of animal behavior in the School of Natural Sciences at Macquarie University, Australia. His research focuses on the underlying mechanisms of animal behavior and how it affects the animal’s ecological fitness. Recently, Dr. Whiting and colleagues published their findings on Jackson’s chameleons in Science Advances . CTS: Can you briefly describe your relevant findings for our readers who haven't encountered your article? MW: The main finding is that chameleons that are originally from East Africa, in this case near Mt. Kenya or the

Meet the Author : Explaining Life Through Evolution

For our second interview in our Meet the Author series, we spoke to Professor Prosanta Chakrabarty , the Curator of Fishes at Louisiana State University. As an ichthyologist, Professor Chakrabarty studies fishes, especially bony ones to understand the evolution and history of the Earth. His research has taken him to over 30 countries and Chakrabarty is credited with the discovery of over 13 species of fish. His recent book, Explaining Life Through Evolution focuses on similarities between species, rather than the differences. He also states that life is like a book of which we see just a few chapters and it continues to be made, long after we are gone.                                                              Explaining Life Through Evolution                                                                    Image credit: Prosanta Chakrabarty Coffee Table Science is grateful to Professor Chakrabarty for dedicating his valuable time to this interview. CTS: Evolution is something th

What Did Evolution Get Wrong [Video]

About 6 days and 90 years ago, the Criminal Court of Tennessee sentenced a high school teacher, John Thomas Scopes , guilty of teaching human evolution in school. The Scopes Trial or the Scopes Monkey Trial , as it is famously known, was a big event for its time and set the tone for debate whether evolution should or should be taught in schools. While the debate continues even today and people continue to argue over the merits and demerits of the evolution theory , we came across this short video from BBC Earth Unplugged that actually questions the theory of evolution, in a fun way. Disclaimer: Neither the BBC Earth Unplugged nor Coffee Table Science are attempting to question the theory of evolution, it's just that these are interesting questions that need to be asked so enjoy the video. If you have liked video, do let us know your thoughts on it below. There are some interesting posts on our blog about the fast moving tiger beetles and extreme sex seen in animal

Cell: “I’m not ruled by my genes”

One often comes across the phrase “It’s in my genes” in our day-to-day life. Less than a century after their discovery, the words 'DNA' and 'genes' are commonly used by all and are also a common topic of speculation in the academic as well as the non-academic world. Some scientists believe that "the living body/cell is just a mere vehicle produced and used by the genome to carry on information ahead in time generation after generation”. Readers with a biology background are aware of the “Central Dogma of Molecular Biology”; for others let me just brief it. It proposes that DNA in genes produces RNA which in turn produces proteins that give a phenotype to  an individual. It also states that the transfer of information is unidirectional  (DNA to cell ) and not the other way round. This is considered to be the basis of molecular biology. I would like to discuss a few implications of crediting DNA /genes with life in a cell.   Is Inheritance a property of just the DNA?

New genes come from the junk of DNA our body holds

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash Genetics has come a long way since the 1950s. Although progress has been made in unraveling the mysteries of our molecular heritage, we are constantly stumped by newer facts about our genetic code . And the one that leads the way is the mystery about Junk DNA. Genes, our molecular hereditary information, although bulky and cumbersome have a methodical way of working. Genes are transcribed into RNA which in turn are coded into protein, and these proteins finally get involved in the molecular build-up of our existence, thus making the genes where they come from, the foundation of it all. But not all of the gene or genetic material is really coded into protein. There is a major portion that is left out of this entire process and is not capable of coding for protein; this is called ‘ junk DNA ’. Interesting facts about ‘junk DNA’ has baffled the world of science, like the ‘junk DNA’ constitutes almost 95% of the human genome! For y

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