The intricate world of cone snail venoms

A great paper authored by S√©bastien Dutertre and colleagues was recently published by Nature Communications: Dutertre, S., Jin, A., Vetter, I., Hamilton, B., Sunagar, K., Lavergne, V., Dutertre, V., Fry, B., Antunes, A., Venter, D., Alewood, P., & Lewis, R. (2014). Evolution of separate predation- and defence-evoked venoms in carnivorous …

Non-Genetic Inheritance in Evolution

It’s no secret that the Modern Synthesis is not quite so modern anymore, and is due for an overhaul soon enough, with the addition of several components in an Extended Evolutionary Synthesis. One of these additions will probably be non-genetic inheritance (Danchin et al., 2011). Non-genetic inheritance gets a lot …

Transposable elements

Transposable elements are short sequences of DNA with the special characteristic that they are mobile: they copy themselves to new locations on the genome. While some have been co-opted to serve a function, transposable elements are largely parasitic, abusing the cellular machinery to aid their own propagation. They’re usually classified …