Genetics

Cannibalism Normal for Early Humans?

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 10, 2003   View Article

Genetic markers commonly found in modern humans all over the world could be evidence that our earliest ancestors were cannibals, according to new research. Scientists suggest that even today many of us carry a gene that evolved as protection against brain diseases that can be spread by eating human flesh.

Deciphering the “Bugs” in Human Intestines

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 28, 2003   View Article

The human intestine is a swirling and churning environment that is host to microbial communities as diverse as those found in the Amazon rain forest. And like the regions beneath the soils that carpet the rain forest floor, much of what lies within the gut remains unexplored.

A series of papers in the March 28 issue of Science delves into this scientific frontier and begins to unravel the secrets of the complex and highly evolved microbial communities that teem throughout the length of our intestines.

Ants Practice Nepotism, Study Finds

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: February 26, 2003   View Article

The highly social and complex world of ants is not void of selfish acts. Worker ants of the species Formica fusca apparently can distinguish who their closest relatives are and kill their more distant relations.

“That workers capitalize on this ability simply means that the workers use the information they have to enhance their genetic contribution to future generations,” said Liselotte Sundström, an entomologist at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

Ant Study Shows Link Between Single Gene, Colony Formation

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: January 24, 2002   View Article

The complex group behavior of social insects such as ants and bees has long intrigued scientists and other observers. This activity is thought to be shaped by a combination of factors, including genetics, learning, and the environment. But a new study shows that when it comes to fire ants, a single gene plays a major role.

The finding may offer important insight to researchers who are working to determine what genes influence social behavior in people.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach