What we’re reading: Aug 8, 2014

Hybrid Songbirds use Hybrid Migration Routes
Neat new paper (open) shows that hybrids between two subspecies of Swainson’s thrushes, show intermediate migration routes from the parental species. Additionally, the authors estimate that selection against hybrids is strong and postulate if migration may constitute an ecological pressure driving speciation.

Many Genes of Small Effect
This blog post from the Molecular Ecologist does a nice job explaining new results from this paper (sub) on stickleback evolution. Specifically, the post details how experimental work linked genotype, phenotype, and ecology together and shows that divergent stickleback forms may be related to many genes of small effect versus one gene of large effect, the big story of the species since 2005.

microRNAs Not a Panacea for Phylogenomics
This paper (sub) describes a new study of the placement of turtles within the reptile phylogeny. Specifically, it details how previous studies that used microRNAs may have inferred incorrect phylogenetic trees (and thus inference on the placement of turtles) due to a high prevalence of gene loss and gain in microRNAs.

Ivory Trade
Many people argue that the ivory trade should be legalized to allow African nations to profit and ensure the sustainability of elephants. This paper (sub) explains why a legal trade in ivory is destined to fail.

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