What we’re reading: Nov 21, 2014

Captive Breeding and Mate Choice
Captive breeding is one conservation strategy both for species preservation but also for potential release of individuals into the wild for increasing population size and/or genetic diversity. This paper examined the breeding patterns of mice which were captively bred for three generations before being released with wild mice. The authors observed that wild mice mated with other wild mice and the captive group with itself, an example of assortative mating. This study has conservation implications relative to the possibility that releasing captively bred individuals back into the wild may not have the desired benefit of increasing genetic diversity if individuals only breed with like individuals.

Invasive Species
Changing climates create new opportunities for invasive species, which in turn impact on native biodiversity. This review (open) discusses how genetic and genomic tools can be applied to the management of invasive species and outlines some of their limitations.

Evolution of Feathers from Dinosaurs
This paper uses phylogenetics to understand in which lineages and at what time the genes associated with feathers arose. They discovered that evolution in regulatory regions surrounding feathers was a key innovation that led to feathers and that most of this arose on a phylogenetic branch before dinosaurs diverged.

Seasonal Effective Disorder and Grant Writing
As if grant writing isn’t a downer already, this piece highlights the effects of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) on risk taking behaviour and grantsmanship.

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