Matching Items (36)

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Lessons from embryos: Haeckel's embryo drawings, evolution, and secondary biology textbooks

Description

In 1997, developmental biologist Michael Richardson compared his research team's embryo photographs to Ernst Haeckel's 1874 embryo drawings and called Haeckel's work noncredible.Science soon published <“>Haeckel's Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered,<”> and

In 1997, developmental biologist Michael Richardson compared his research team's embryo photographs to Ernst Haeckel's 1874 embryo drawings and called Haeckel's work noncredible.Science soon published <“>Haeckel's Embryos: Fraud Rediscovered,<”> and Richardson's comments further reinvigorated criticism of Haeckel by others with articles in The American Biology Teacher, <“>Haeckel's Embryos and Evolution: Setting the Record Straight <”> and the New York Times, <“>Biology Text Illustrations more Fiction than Fact.<”> Meanwhile, others emphatically stated that the goal of comparative embryology was not to resurrect Haeckel's work. At the center of the controversy was Haeckel's no-longer-accepted idea of recapitulation. Haeckel believed that the development of an embryo revealed the adult stages of the organism's ancestors. Haeckel represented this idea with drawings of vertebrate embryos at similar developmental stages. This is Haeckel's embryo grid, the most common of all illustrations in biology textbooks. Yet, Haeckel's embryo grids are much more complex than any textbook explanation. I examined 240 high school biology textbooks, from 1907 to 2010, for embryo grids. I coded and categorized the grids according to accompanying discussion of (a) embryonic similarities (b) recapitulation, (c) common ancestors, and (d) evolution. The textbooks show changing narratives. Embryo grids gained prominence in the 1940s, and the trend continued until criticisms of Haeckel reemerged in the late 1990s, resulting in (a) grids with fewer organisms and developmental stages or (b) no grid at all. Discussion about embryos and evolution dropped significantly.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Definitely directed evolution (1890-1926): the importance of variation in major evolutionary works by Theodor Eimer, Edward Drinker Cope, and Leo Berg

Description

This dissertation shows that the central conceptual feature and explanatory motivation of theories of evolutionary directionality between 1890 and 1926 was as follows: morphological variation in the developing organism limits

This dissertation shows that the central conceptual feature and explanatory motivation of theories of evolutionary directionality between 1890 and 1926 was as follows: morphological variation in the developing organism limits the possible outcomes of evolution in definite directions. Put broadly, these theories maintained a conceptual connection between development and evolution as inextricably associated phenomena. This project develops three case studies. The first addresses the Swiss-German zoologist Theodor Eimer's book Organic Evolution (1890), which sought to undermine the work of noted evolutionist August Weismann. Second, the American paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope's Primary Factors (1896) developed a sophisticated system of inheritance that included the material of heredity and the energy needed to induce and modify ontogenetic phenomena. Third, the Russian biogeographer Leo Berg's Nomogenesis (1926) argued that the biological world is deeply structured in a way that prevents changes to morphology taking place in more than one or a few directions. These authors based their ideas on extensive empirical evidence of long-term evolutionary trajectories. They also sought to synthesize knowledge from a wide range of studies and proposed causes of evolution and development within a unified causal framework based on laws of evolution. While being mindful of the variation between these three theories, this project advances "Definitely Directed Evolution" as a term to designate these shared features. The conceptual coherence and reception of these theories shows that Definitely Directed Evolution from 1890 to 1926 is an important piece in reconstructing the wider history of theories of evolutionary directionality.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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HIV evolution: biogeography and intra-individual dynamics

Description

The entire history of HIV-1 is hidden in its ten thousand bases, where information regarding its evolutionary traversal through the human population can only be unlocked with fine-scale sequence analysis.

The entire history of HIV-1 is hidden in its ten thousand bases, where information regarding its evolutionary traversal through the human population can only be unlocked with fine-scale sequence analysis. Measurable footprints of mutation and recombination have imparted upon us a wealth of knowledge, from multiple chimpanzee-to-human transmissions to patterns of neutralizing antibody and drug resistance. Extracting maximum understanding from such diverse data can only be accomplished by analyzing the viral population from many angles. This body of work explores two primary aspects of HIV sequence evolution, point mutation and recombination, through cross-sectional (inter-individual) and longitudinal (intra-individual) investigations, respectively. Cross-sectional Analysis: The role of Haiti in the subtype B pandemic has been hotly debated for years; while there have been many studies, up to this point, no one has incorporated the well-known mechanism of retroviral recombination into their biological model. Prior to the use of recombination detection, multiple analyses produced trees where subtype B appears to have first entered Haiti, followed by a jump into the rest of the world. The results presented here contest the Haiti-first theory of the pandemic and instead suggest simultaneous entries of subtype B into Haiti and the rest of the world. Longitudinal Analysis: Potential N-linked glycosylation sites (PNGS) are the most evolutionarily dynamic component of one of the most evolutionarily dynamic proteins known to date. While the number of mutations associated with the increase or decrease of PNGS frequency over time is high, there are a set of relatively stable sites that persist within and between longitudinally sampled individuals. Here, I identify the most conserved stable PNGSs and suggest their potential roles in host-virus interplay. In addition, I have identified, for the first time, what may be a gp-120-based environmental preference for N-linked glycosylation sites.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Religious Women’s Modest Dress as a Signal to Other Women

Description

The present study tested the hypothesis that women dress modestly to signal to other women that they pose no mate poaching threat and are sexually restricted, and that this is

The present study tested the hypothesis that women dress modestly to signal to other women that they pose no mate poaching threat and are sexually restricted, and that this is especially true for religious women. Participants were 392 Muslim women living in the United States. They read two passages describing fictional situations in which they met with a potential female friend and then indicated what kind of outfit they would wear in both situations. In one situation, the participant obtained a reputation for promiscuity; in the other situation, reputation was not mentioned. I predicted that participants would choose more modest outfits for the promiscuous reputation passage, because if women dress modestly to signal sexual restrictedness, then they should dress more modestly around women with whom they have a reputation for promiscuity—to counteract such a reputation, women may wish to send a strong signal that they are not promiscuous. The hypothesis was partially supported: Less religious women chose more modest outfits for the promiscuous reputation situation than they did for the no reputation situation. This suggests that some women dress modestly to signal sexual restrictedness to other women, but that this is especially true for women who are less religious, not more. More religious women dress more modestly than less religious women, but they may not dress modestly to signal sexual restrictedness. Two important goals for this area of research are to determine the proximate reasons that more religious women dress modestly and to investigate modest dress among non-Muslim religious women.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Geographical Variation in Social Structure, Morphology, and Genetics of the New World Honey Ant Myrmecocystus mendax

Description

Persistent cooperation between unrelated conspecifics rarely occurs in mature eusocial insect societies. In this dissertation, I present evidence of non-kin cooperation in the Nearctic honey ant Myrmecocystus mendax. Using microsatellite

Persistent cooperation between unrelated conspecifics rarely occurs in mature eusocial insect societies. In this dissertation, I present evidence of non-kin cooperation in the Nearctic honey ant Myrmecocystus mendax. Using microsatellite markers, I show that mature colonies in the Sierra Ancha Mountain of central Arizona contain multiple unrelated matrilines, an observation that is consistent with primary polygyny. In contrast, similar analyses suggest that colonies in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona are primarily monogynous. These interpretations are consistent with field and laboratory observations. Whereas cooperative colony founding was observed frequently among groups of Sierra Ancha foundresses, founding in the Chiricahua population was restricted to individual foundresses. Furthermore, Sierra Ancha foundresses successfully established incipient laboratory colonies without undergoing queen culling following emergence of the first workers. Multi-queen laboratory Sierra Ancha colonies also produced more workers and repletes than haplometrotic colonies, and when brood raiding was induced between colonies, queens of those with more workers had a higher survival probability.

Microsatellite analyses of additional locations within the M. mendax range suggest that polygyny is also present in some other populations, especially in central-northern Arizona, albeit at lower frequencies than that in the Sierra Anchas. In addition, analyses of multiple types of genetic data, including microsatellites, the mitochondrial barcoding region, and over 2000 nuclear ultra-conserved elements indicate that M. mendax populations within the southwestern U.S. and northwestern Mexico are geographically structured, with strong support for the existence of two or more divergent clades as well as isolation-by-distance within clades. This structure is further shown to correlate with variation in queen number and hair length, a diagnostic taxonomic feature used to distinguish honey ant species.

Together, these findings suggest that regional ecological pressures (e.g. colony density , climate) may have acted on colony founding and social strategy to select for increasing workforce size and, along with genetic drift, have driven geographically isolated M. mendax populations to differentiate genetically and morphologically. The presence of colony fusion in the laboratory and life history traits in honey ant that are influenced by colony size, including repletism, brood raiding, and tournament, support this evolutionary scenario.

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Date Created
  • 2018

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Promoter Identification in Daphnia Populations Revealed by Transcription Start Site Profiling

Description

Regulation of transcription initiation is a critical factor in the emergence of diverse biological phenotypes, including the development of multiple cell types from a single genotype, the ability of organisms

Regulation of transcription initiation is a critical factor in the emergence of diverse biological phenotypes, including the development of multiple cell types from a single genotype, the ability of organisms to respond to environmental cues, and the rise of heritable diseases. Transcription initiation is regulated in large part by promoter regions of DNA. The identification and characterization of cis-regulatory regions, and understanding how these sequences differ across species, is a question of interest in evolution. To address this topic, I used the model organism Daphnia pulex, a well-characterized microcrustacean with an annotated genome sequence and selected a distribution of well-defined populations geographically located throughout the Midwestern US, Oregon, and Canada. Using isolated total RNA from adult, female Daphnia originating from the selected populations as well as a related taxon, Daphnia pulicaria (200,000 years diverged from D. pulex), I identified an average of over 14,000 (n=14,471) promoter regions using a novel transcription start site (TSS) profiling method, STRIPE-seq. Through the identification of sequence architecture, promoter class, conservation, and transcription start region (TSR) width, of cis-regulatory regions across the aforementioned Daphnia populations, I constructed a system for the study of promoter evolution, enabling a robust interpretation of promoter evolution in the context of the population-genetic environment. The methodology presented, coupled with the generated dataset, provides a foundation for the study of the evolution of promoters across both species and populations.

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Date Created
  • 2020

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Comparative and experimental investigations of cranial robusticity in mid-Pleistocene hominins

Description

Extremely thick cranial vaults have been noted as a diagnostic characteristic of Homo erectus since the first fossil of the species was identified, but potential mechanisms underlying this seemingly unique

Extremely thick cranial vaults have been noted as a diagnostic characteristic of Homo erectus since the first fossil of the species was identified, but potential mechanisms underlying this seemingly unique trait have not been rigorously investigated. Cranial vault thickness (CVT) is not a monolithic trait, and the responsiveness of its layers to environmental stimuli is unknown. Identifying factors that affect CVT would be exceedingly valuable in teasing apart potential contributors to thick vaults in the Pleistocene. Four hypotheses were tested using CT scans of skulls of more than 1100 human and non-human primates. Data on total frontal, parietal, and occipital bone thickness and bone composition were collected to test the hypotheses: H1. CVT is an allometric consequence of brain or body size. H2. Thick cranial vaults are a response to long, low cranial vault shape. H3. High masticatory stress causes localized thickening of cranial vaults. H4. Activity-mediated systemic hormone levels affect CVT. Traditional comparative methods were used to identify features that covary with CVT across primates to establish behavior patterns that might correlate with thick cranial vaults. Secondly, novel experimental manipulation of a model organism, Mus musculus, was used to evaluate the relative plasticity of CVT. Finally, measures of CVT in fossil hominins were described and discussed in light of the extant comparative and experimental results. This dissertation reveals previously unknown variation among extant primates and humans and illustrates that Homo erectus is not entirely unique among primates in its CVT. The research suggests that it is very difficult to make a mouse grow a thick head, although it can be genetically programmed to have one. The project also identifies a possible hominin synapomorphy: high diploë ratios compared to non-human primates. It also found that extant humans differ from non-human primates in overall pattern of which cranial vault bones are thickest. What this project was unable to do was definitively provide an explanation for why and how Homo erectus grew thick skulls. Caution is required when using CVT as a diagnostic trait for Homo erectus, as the results presented here underscore the complexity inherent in its evolution and development.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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Three perspectives on multilevel selection: an experimental, historical, and synthetic analysis of group-level selection

Description

During the 1960s, the long-standing idea that traits or behaviors could be

explained by natural selection acting on traits that persisted "for the good of the group" prompted a series of

During the 1960s, the long-standing idea that traits or behaviors could be

explained by natural selection acting on traits that persisted "for the good of the group" prompted a series of debates about group-level selection and the effectiveness with which natural selection could act at or across multiple levels of biological organization. For some this topic remains contentious, while others consider the debate settled, even while disagreeing about when and how resolution occurred, raising the question: "Why have these debates continued?"

Here I explore the biology, history, and philosophy of the possibility of natural selection operating at levels of biological organization other than the organism by focusing on debates about group-level selection that have occurred since the 1960s. In particular, I use experimental, historical, and synthetic methods to review how the debates have changed, and whether different uses of the same words and concepts can lead to different interpretations of the same experimental data.

I begin with the results of a group-selection experiment I conducted using the parasitoid wasp Nasonia, and discuss how the interpretation depends on how one conceives of and defines a "group." Then I review the history of the group selection controversy and argue that this history is best interpreted as multiple, interrelated debates rather than a single continuous debate. Furthermore, I show how the aspects of these debates that have changed the most are related to theoretical content and empirical data, while disputes related to methods remain largely unchanged. Synthesizing this material, I distinguish four different "approaches" to the study of multilevel selection based on the questions and methods used by researchers, and I use the results of the Nasonia experiment to discuss how each approach can lead to different interpretations of the same experimental data. I argue that this realization can help to explain why debates about group and multilevel selection have persisted for nearly sixty years. Finally, the conclusions of this dissertation apply beyond evolutionary biology by providing an illustration of how key concepts can change over time, and how failing to appreciate this fact can lead to ongoing controversy within a scientific field.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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Evolutionary Genetics of CORL Proteins

Description

Transgenic experiments in Drosophila have proven to be a useful tool aiding in the

determination of mammalian protein function. A CNS specific protein, dCORL is a

member of the Sno/Ski family. Sno

Transgenic experiments in Drosophila have proven to be a useful tool aiding in the

determination of mammalian protein function. A CNS specific protein, dCORL is a

member of the Sno/Ski family. Sno acts as a switch between Dpp/dActivin signaling.

dCORL is involved in Dpp and dActivin signaling, but the two homologous mCORL

protein functions are unknown. Conducting transgenic experiments in the adult wings,

and third instar larval brains using mCORL1, mCORL2 and dCORL are used to provide

insight into the function of these proteins. These experiments show mCORL1 has a

different function from mCORL2 and dCORL when expressed in Drosophila. mCORL2

and dCORL have functional similarities that are likely conserved. Six amino acid

substitutions between mCORL1 and mCORL2/dCORL may be the reason for the

functional difference. The evolutionary implications of this research suggest the

conservation of a switch between Dpp/dActivin signaling that predates the divergence of

arthropods and vertebrates.

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Date Created
  • 2019

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Systematics, morphology, and evolution of the new world Conoderinae Schoenherr, 1833 (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Description

Weevils are one of the most diverse groups of animals with thousands of species suspected to remain undiscovered. The Conoderinae Schoenherr, 1833 are no exception, being especially diverse and unknown

Weevils are one of the most diverse groups of animals with thousands of species suspected to remain undiscovered. The Conoderinae Schoenherr, 1833 are no exception, being especially diverse and unknown in the Neotropics where they are recognizable for their unique behaviors and color patterns among weevils. Despite these peculiarities, the group has received little attention from researchers in the past century, with almost nothing known about their evolution. This dissertation presents a series of three studies that begin to elucidate the evolutionary history of these bizarre and fascinating weevils, commencing with an overview of their biology and classificatory history (Chapter 1).

Chapter 2 presents the first formal cladistic analysis on the group to redefine the New World tribes Lechriopini Lacordaire, 1865 and Zygopini, Lacordaire, 1865. An analysis of 75 taxa (65 ingroup) with 75 morphological characters yielded six equally parsimonious trees and synapomorphies that are used to reconstitute the tribes, resulting in the transfer of sixteen genera from the Zygopini to the Lechriopini and four generic transfers out of the Lechriopini to elsewhere in the Conoderinae.

Chapter 3 constitutes a taxonomic revision of the genus Trichodocerus Chevrolat, 1879, the sole genus in the tribe Trichodocerini Champion, 1906, which has had an uncertain phylogenetic placement in the Curculionidae but has most recently been treated in the Conoderinae. In addition to redescriptions of the three previously described species placed in the genus, twenty-four species are newly described and an identification key is provided for all recognized species groups and species.

Chapter 4 quantitatively tests the similarity in color pattern among species hypothesized to belong to several different mimicry complexes. The patterns of 160 species of conoderine weevils were evaluated for 15 categorical and continuous characters. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMDS) is used to visualize similarity by the proximity of individual species and clusters of species assigned to a mimicry complex in ordination space with clusters being statistically tested using permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA).

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019