New research by Bence Ölvecsky and Postdoc, Ashesh Dhawale, suggests errors resulting from variability in motor function is a feature, not a bug, of our nervous system and play a critical role in learning. The study published in Current Biology addresses the issue of how the brain regulates variability, which is necessary for learning, but not useful when a successful...
Stephanie Pierce and Postdoc Katrina Jones tackle the question of biological complexity using the complex mammalian spine as an evolutionary example. Using phylogenetic modeling, Pierce and Jones were able to discover why the mammalian vertebral column became more complex over time. The data published in Nature Communications shows major shifts in spine complexity are associated with increases in aerobic capacity, thus supporting the hypothesis for...
Congratulations to Javier Ortega-Hernández and Rudy-Lerosey Aubril (Research Associate, Ortega-Hernández lab) awarded the William F. Milton Fund for their project, "Revealing the nearshore cradle of animal evolution: a new exceptionally preserved soft-bodied fossil biota from the early Cambrian of British Columbia."
Species from widely divergent taxa can experience similar changes in traits. What underlying genetic drivers cause these parallel changes remains an open question. Scott Edwards, Tim Sackton (Director of Bioinformatics and former Postdoc) and PhD student Phil Grayson used a new method developed by collaborators in the Harvard Statistics Department to look across groups of birds that have repeatedly lost flight. The team showed there is convergence in the regulatory regions associated with genes related to flight, but not within the protein coding regions.
In a study in the March 15 issue of Science Magazine, Mansi Srivastava and lab members Andrew Gehrke, Emily Neverett, Yi-Jyun Luo, Lorenzo Ricci (Postdocs) and Ryan Hulett (PhD student) shed light on how some animals have the amazing ability to regenerate and uncovered a number of DNA switches that appear to control genes for whole-body regeneration.
Postdoc, Valentina Di Santo (Lauder Lab) examined the effect of ocean acidification and warming on mineralization of fish skeleton. Previous studies have focused on the effect of these climate-related stressors on calcification rates of the exoskeleton, or shell of marine invertebrates, as well as the ear stone of fishes. However, Di Santo's study, published in Proceedings of the...
Scientists have long assumed that the hundreds of species of salamanders that lack lungs breathe instead through their skin and the lining of the mouth. However, a new study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B led by postdoc Zachary Lewis (Hanken Lab) and Prof. Jim Hanken provides the first concrete evidence for how the lungless salamanders do "breathe".
Postdoctoral researcher, Emily Meineke (Davis Lab), former postdoctoral researcher, Barnabas Daru (Davis Lab) and Prof. Charles Davis teamed with Prof. Jonathan Davies, University of British Columbia to serve as co-editors of a special issue of Philosophical Transactions B, (v374:1763).
Mammals use their forelimbs for many activities including swimming, jumping, flying, climbing and digging. But how they evolved to do so is a mystery for scientists. Postdoc, Sophie Regnault (S. Pierce Lab) and Prof. Stephanie Pierce studied a highly-detailed musculoskeletal model of an echidna forelimb to shed light on how extinct mammals might have used their forelimbs. Echidnas are egg-laying mammals with many anatomical features in common with earlier mammal ancestors and can help bridge the gap between extinct and other...
HarvardOEBIt's #tbt and we visit some work by one of our PhD Students that's still making headlines!
Roopkund Lake is a small body of water nestled deep in the Himalayan mountains miles above sea level. The Lake sits… t.co/NlrkFuvCwt
HarvardOEBNew research by Bence Ölvecsky and Postdoc, Ashesh Dhawale, suggests errors resulting from variability in motor function is a feature, not a bug, of our nervous system and play a critical role in learning. The study… t.co/FZUZ8Z9zRu