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Simian immunodeficiency virus of sooty mangabeys (SIVsmm) is recognized as the progenitor of human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) and has been transmitted to humans on multiple occasions, yet the epidemiology and genetic diversity of SIVsmm infection in wild-living populations remain largely unknown. Here, we report the first molecular… (More)
DEET (N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide) is one of the most widely used mosquito repellents. Although DEET has been shown to be extremely effective, recent studies have revealed that certain individual insects are unaffected by its presence. A genetic basis for this has been shown in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, but, for the… (More)
Laboratory evolution in Escherichia coli has revealed that fitness typically increases in experimental populations. These changes are sometimes associated with changes in insertion sequence positions, some of which may themselves cause advantageous phenotypes. We have a novel and general method for identifying genes in Escherichia coli, whose knockout by… (More)
Simian immunodeficiency virus of chimpanzees (SIVcpz) is the immediate precursor to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), yet remarkably, the distribution and prevalence of SIVcpz in wild ape populations are unknown. Studies of SIVcpz infection rates in wild chimpanzees are complicated by the species' endangered status and by its geographic location… (More)
N,N-Diethyl-m-toluamide (DEET) is one of the most effective and commonly used mosquito repellents. However, during laboratory trials a small proportion of mosquitoes are still attracted by human odors despite the presence of DEET. In this study behavioral assays identified Aedes aegypti females that were insensitive to DEET, and the selection of either… (More)
There has been debate over the mechanisms that control the copy number of transposable elements in the genome of Drosophila melanogaster. Target sites in D. melanogaster populations are occupied at low frequencies, suggesting that there is some form of selection acting against transposable elements. Three main theories have been proposed to explain how… (More)
The maintenance of mobile DNA sequences in clonal organisms has been seen as a paradox. If selfish mobile sequences spread through genomes only by overreplication in transposition, then sexuality is necessary for their spread through populations. The persistence of bacterial transposable elements without obvious dominant selectable markers has previously… (More)
The evolution of new functions takes place partially through changes in the way transcription is controlled. Transcriptional control is brought about by the interactions of transcription factors with short target motifs in the DNAs of promoters and enhancers. One way in which changes in gene expression can evolve is through the acquisition of new… (More)
Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) underlying multifactorial disorders explain little of the heritability - most is 'missing'. A new yeast study has identified QTLs which explain most heritability in traits. Why is heritability missing in human diseases but not here?
The selfish DNA hypothesis imagines the genome as an ecological community, a collection of interacting DNA sequences with differing evolutionary origins and potentially different interests. We are now finding out more about the ways in which host sequences can enlist the help of formerly parasitic DNAs.