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robertogreco : genes   12

How birds' genes influence adaptation to climate change
"As Earth’s climate changes, species must adapt, shift their geographical ranges, or face decline and, in some cases, extinction. Using genetics, biologists involved in the Bird Genoscape Project are racing against time to find out the potential for adaptation and how best to protect vulnerable populations of birds.

The project’s most recent study, published in Science, focuses on the yellow warbler. Found across most of North America, the bird spends its winters in Central and South America, and flies as far north as Alaska and the Arctic Circle in the summer, filling wildlands and backyards with color and song along the way.

Using more than 200 blood, tissue and feather samples from across the breeding range, the researchers discovered genes that appear to be responding to climate, and found that bird populations that most need to adapt to climate change are experiencing declines.

Senior author Kristen Ruegg, a research scientist at UC Santa Cruz and adjunct assistant professor at UCLA, said previous studies focused on how long-term changes in temperature and precipitation cause bird species to shift their geographic ranges. Genetic mapping offers the opportunity to look at another option—the capacity to adapt to climate change.

“With this research, we can say, based on these gene-environment correlations, here’s how populations will have to adapt to future climate change, and here are the populations that have to adapt most,” said Ruegg, who also is co-director of the Bird Genoscape Project.

Whether the yellow warbler will be able to adapt is another matter. “That’s our next big question,” Ruegg said.

Valuable information for conservationists

The new study uncovered some of the challenges yellow warblers already face. In some populations, genes associated with climate adaptation are mismatched to environments. These populations will likely have the hardest time adapting quickly enough to future climate shifts.

That’s been the case in the past, too. Comparing the genetic findings to breeding bird surveys dating back to the 1960s that track changes in bird abundance, the researchers determined that the populations that need to adapt most are already in decline. Using genetic maps, the habitats of the populations most vulnerable to climate change can now be targeted for protection, said Rachael Bay, lead author of the study and a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow. The findings offer valuable information for conservationists who hope to protect species like the yellow warbler in the future, she said.

“Evolution has the potential to matter a lot when it comes to climate change response,” Bay said. “It’s a process we should start to integrate more when we make decisions, and it’s shown a lot of promise that hasn’t been realized yet.”

The yellow warbler is not currently endangered. It was selected for the study to give researchers a better understanding of how genes relate to climate variables across its broad range. But the bird may serve as a canary in the coal mine for species that are more at risk.

“This is an alarm bell,” said Tom Smith, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UCLA and director of the Center for Tropical Research. “We spend a lot of time asking what is going to happen under climate change, what the effects will be and what we need to do to manage it. Our results shocked us—it’s happening now.”

The study sets the stage for two important next steps, Smith said. First, it means additional studies need to be done to learn how other species adapt to climate change. Second, the findings can be used now to tailor and inform future conservation management."
birds  nature  climatechange  adaptation  genetics  genes  evolution  survival  globalwarming  2018  animals  anthropocene  multispecies  morethanhuman  kristenruegg 
january 2018 by robertogreco
singapore art biennale 2011: candice breitz
"contemplate the idea of individuality, the process of individuation, and one's relationship to a larger community…the process of individuation, and one's relationship to a larger community. in her most recent piece entitled 'factum' 2010, she interviews seven sets of identical twins and one set of triplets (age ranging from teens to grandmothers), that have been edited into dual-channel presentations…

all are mono-zygotic twins who spent their formative lives together and are able to draw upon shared memory and experiences. filmed in a setting of their choosing (in one of the homes of a twin) and asked to dress as identically as possible, the twins were individually interviewed by breitz for about 5 - 7 hours giving both individuals the opportunity to narrate their own story as they chose to. covering intimate topics including childhood, sibling rivalry and family history, and at the same time allowing each subject to address their relationship to the world at large."
candicebreitz  film  interviews  art  identity  community  classideas  individuality  twins  triplets  families  genetics  genes  video  towatch 
august 2011 by robertogreco
The depression map: genes, culture, serotonin, and a side of pathogens | Wired Science | Wired.com
"Maps can tell surprising stories. About a year ago, Northwestern University psychologist Joan Chiao pondered a set of global maps that confounded conventional notions of what depression is, why we get it, and how genes — the so-called “depression gene” in particular — interact with environment and culture."
depression  asia  culture  psychology  genes  genetics  environment  science  maps  mapping 
september 2010 by robertogreco
A Neuroscientist Uncovers A Dark Secret : NPR [via: http://stevemiranda.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/what-cheaters-and-sadists-can-teach-us-about-school/]
"Fallon calls up another slide on his computer. It has a list of family members' names, and next to them, the results of the genotyping. Everyone in his family has the low-aggression variant of the MAO-A gene, except for one person.
neuroscience  crime  ethics  brain  biology  nurture  nature  neurology  psychology  science  violence  genetics  genes  medicine  npr  law  neurolaw 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Not your father's evolution
"Recent evidence of horizontal gene transfer -- in which genes are exchanged from other organisms, not from ancestors -- has some scientists thinking that the dominant form of evolution for most of the Earth's history was between non-related organisms and not among ancestors."
evolution  genes  gentransfer  science  biology  organisms 
february 2010 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Online | December 2009 | The Science of Success | David Dobbs
"Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail—but with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful, and happy people."
nature  nurture  evolution  society  genetics  animals  biology  behavior  genes  creativity  psychology  science  children  success  dandelions  orchids  depression  serotonin  life  toread 
december 2009 by robertogreco
The Science of Success - The Atlantic (December 2009)
"Most of us have genes that make us as hardy as dandelions: able to take root and survive almost anywhere. A few of us, however, are more like the orchid: fragile and fickle, but capable of blooming spectacularly if given greenhouse care. So holds a provocative new theory of genetics, which asserts that the very genes that give us the most trouble as a species, causing behaviors that are self-destructive and antisocial, also underlie humankind’s phenomenal adaptability and evolutionary success. With a bad environment and poor parenting, orchid children can end up depressed, drug-addicted, or in jail—but with the right environment and good parenting, they can grow up to be society’s most creative, successful, and happy people."
education  psychology  science  research  environment  parenting  behavior  relationships  intelligence  evolution  depression  aspergers  genes  nurture  nature  development  networking  success  genetics 
november 2009 by robertogreco
See Randomness
"So if you want to discover things that have been overlooked till now, one really good place to look is in our blind spot: in our natural, naive belief that it's all about us. And expect to encounter ferocious opposition if you do.

Conversely, if you have to choose between two theories, prefer the one that doesn't center on you.

This principle isn't only for big ideas. It works in everyday life, too. For example, suppose you're saving a piece of cake in the fridge, and you come home one day to find your housemate has eaten it. Two possible theories:

a) Your housemate did it deliberately to upset you. He knew you were saving that piece of cake.

b) Your housemate was hungry.

I say pick b. No one knows who said "never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence," but it is a powerful idea. Its more general version is our answer to the Greeks:

Don't see purpose where there isn't.

Or better still, the positive version:

See randomness."
randomness  discovery  perspective  paulgraham  plato  philosophy  thinking  random  psychology  reason  chaos  genes  purpose  darwin  tcsnmy  charlesdarwin 
august 2009 by robertogreco
David Byrne Journal: 11.23.08: Planet of the Neanderthals
"So then what happens if we bring Mr. Smarty Pants back to life? If he were joined by some of his mates, wouldn’t they eventually realize that they were smarter than us? Would they bide their time, hiding their agenda, and ultimately sabotage our world, taking charge of our pathetic unintelligent mobs? Cornelius may indeed have been smarter than Charlton Heston; those movies might not be as far-fetched as we thought."
neanderthals  davidbyrne  genetics  dna  intelligence  evolution  darwin  genes  naturalselection  charlesdarwin 
december 2008 by robertogreco
"Junk" RNA May Have Played Role in Vertebrate Evolution: Scientific American
"New study says tiny snippets of RNA co-evolved with vertebrates, likely accounting for the new organisms' complexity"
DNA  evolution  genes  rna  biology 
february 2008 by robertogreco
Facial characteristics | Your mother's smile | Economist.com
"Evidence mounts that making, and perhaps recognising, expressions is inherited"
psychology  genes  biology  science  expression 
october 2006 by robertogreco

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