Darwinian Ascension
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New Evidence from Linguistic Phylogenetics Identifies Limits to Punctuational Change | Systematic Biology | Oxford Academic

New Evidence from Linguistic Phylogenetics Identifies Limits to Punctuational Change | Systematic Biology | Oxford Academic | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Abstract. Since the early 1970s, biologists have debated whether evolution is punctuated by speciation events with bursts of cladogenetic changes, or whether e
Arjen ten Have's insight:
I love when biological evolution principles are applied at society, Here it unfortunately goes wrong.

Punctuated equilibrium was introduced by Stephen Jay Gould to explain the fossil record. Sadly this feat is hardly a real feat since now we need to explain the why evolution shows periods of slow evolution interspersed with bursts. In other words puntuated equilibrium is a Deus ex Machina.
Luckily it is well explained by the existence of Homeo genes, and then particularly the DNA regulators of the homeogenes. They are like puppeteers that control puppeteers that control puppeteers et cetera. So if you mutate the upper puppeteer, which happens only at low frequency, you get a burst in evolution since all the lower echelon puppeteers need  to compensate.

Such mechanism is not known in linguistics (to the best of my knowledge).
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Evolution and Devolution of Social Complexity: Why Do We Care?

Evolution and Devolution of Social Complexity: Why Do We Care? | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Over the past 10,000 years human societies evolved from “simple” – small egalitarian groups, integrated by face-to-face interactions – to “complex” – huge anonymous societies of millions, characterized by great differentials in wealth and power, extensive division of labor, elaborate governance structures, and sophisticated information systems. What were the evolutionary processes that brought about such an enormous increase in social scale and complexity?

We also need to understand why social forces that hold huge human societies together sometimes fail to do so. Complex societies collapsed on numerous occasions in the past, and may be at risk today. There are clear signs that even industrialized, wealthy, and democratic Western societies, that seemed to be immune to collapse until recently, are becoming less stable. Research on social complexity will bring understanding that is of direct value to our societies and human well-being.

Via Complexity Digest
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Interesting read on application of biological evolutionary insights into the evolution of society.
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Gene Essentiality Is a Quantitative Property Linked to Cellular Evolvability

Gene Essentiality Is a Quantitative Property Linked to Cellular Evolvability | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Challenging the notion that genes are either essential or not for an organism’s survival, a set of genes in budding yeast previously thought to be essential are instead found to be “evolvable,” as given time to adapt, the cell, often via aneuploidy, can deploy alternative means of survival without the gene.
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Tracing the peopling of the world through genomics : Nature

Tracing the peopling of the world through genomics https://t.co/sFua5Hq4rA
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Social norms as solutions

Climate change, biodiversity loss, antibiotic resistance, and other global challenges pose major collective action problems: A group benefits from a certain action, but no individual has sufficient incentive to act alone. Formal institutions, e.g., laws and treaties, have helped address issues like ozone depletion, lead pollution, and acid rain. However, formal institutions are not always able to enforce collectively desirable outcomes. In such cases, informal institutions, such as social norms, can be important. If conditions are right, policy can support social norm changes, helping address even global problems. To judge when this is realistic, and what role policy can play, we discuss three crucial questions: Is a tipping point likely to exist, such that vicious cycles of socially damaging behavior can potentially be turned into virtuous ones? Can policy create tipping points where none exist? Can policy push the system past the tipping point?

 

Social norms as solutions
Karine Nyborg, John M. Anderies, Astrid Dannenberg, Therese Lindahl, Caroline Schill, Maja Schlüter, W. Neil Adger, Kenneth J. Arrow, Scott Barrett, Stephen Carpenter, F. Stuart Chapin III, Anne-Sophie Crépin, Gretchen Daily, Paul Ehrlich, Carl Folke, Wander Jager, Nils Kautsky, Simon A. Levin, Ole Jacob Madsen, Stephen Polasky, Marten Scheffer, Brian Walker, Elke U. Weber, James Wilen, Anastasios Xepapadeas, Aart de Zeeuw

Science  07 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6308, pp. 42-43
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf8317


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Positive Selection on a Regulatory Insertion–Deletion Polymorphism in FADS2 Influences Apparent Endogenous Synthesis of Arachidonic Acid

Positive Selection on a Regulatory Insertion–Deletion Polymorphism in FADS2 Influences Apparent Endogenous Synthesis of Arachidonic Acid | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Arjen ten Have's insight:
In short there is evidence that a vegetarian diet can result in the evolution of higher risk of heart attacks. Obviously it is more complicated than that, they studied only one factor leading to heart attack and other factors may be affected otherwise (this is NOT a cohort study). But it makes perfect sense since a vegetarian diet is a perturbation (i.e. historically) and these tend to have an effect, and in evolution most changes are selected against. Sorry vegans!
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Ten Simple Rules for Effective Statistical Practice

Ten Simple Rules for Effective Statistical Practice | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
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Rules are there to help us and to be disobeyed. So take your advantage of this piece.
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Comparative genomics reveals convergent rates of evolution in ant–plant mutualisms

Comparative genomics reveals convergent rates of evolution in ant–plant mutualisms | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Mutualisms in which ants protect plants in exchange for food and shelter have arisen independently multiple times.
Arjen ten Have's insight:
Finally research took care of this ridiculous Red King theory. It is obvious that any interaction, no matter whether it is parasitic, mutualistic or in a protein-protein contact, comes with a functional constraint. Parsimony will always be a major way of thinking in biology. What we need to reveal is all the intel.
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Games of multicellularity

Evolutionary game dynamics are often studied in the context of different population structures. Here we propose a new population structure that is inspired by simple multicellular life forms. In our model, cells reproduce but can stay together after reproduction. They reach complexes of a certain size, n, before producing single cells again. The cells within a complex derive payoff from an evolutionary game by interacting with each other. The reproductive rate of cells is proportional to their payoff. We consider all two-strategy games. We study deterministic evolutionary dynamics with mutations, and derive exact conditions for selection to favor one strategy over another. Our main result has the same symmetry as the well-known sigma condition, which has been proven for stochastic game dynamics and weak selection. For a maximum complex size of n=2 our result holds for any intensity of selection. For n > 2 it holds for weak selection. As specific examples we study the prisoner's dilemma and hawk-dove games. Our model advances theoretical work on multicellularity by allowing for frequency-dependent interactions within groups.

 

Games of multicellularity
Kamran Kaveh, Carl Veller, Martin A. Nowak

http://arxiv.org/abs/1605.07690


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The Atlantic: Free will is an illusion, but we need to keep that illusion

The Atlantic: Free will is an illusion, but we need to keep that illusion | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Yes, I know I'm writing about two Atlantic pieces in one day, but so be it: such are the laws of physics. The second piece, much better than the article on FGM, is an essay by Stephen Cave, "There's no such thing as free will but we're better off believing it anyway." I'll try to be…
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Jerry Coyne responds to the recent article on free will in The Atlantic. How to deal with it! Very good!
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The Biology of Corporate Survival

The Biology of Corporate Survival | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Natural ecosystems hold surprising lessons for business.
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Birth and death evolution in corporate society.
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Economics That's Not Politically Left or Right - Evonomics

Economics That's Not Politically Left or Right - Evonomics | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Can we go move beyond ideological categories?
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The complexity of biodiversity: A biological perspective on economic valuation

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Cool stuff! We should think in the value of biodiversity rather than reemplacement of the elder.

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Mobility can promote the evolution of cooperation via emergent self-assortment dynamics

Mobility can promote the evolution of cooperation via emergent self-assortment dynamics | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it

Cooperation among animals is ubiquitous. In a cooperative interaction, the cooperator confers a benefit to its partner at a personal cost. How does natural selection favour such a costly behaviour? Classical theories argue that cooperative interactions among genetic relatives, reciprocal cooperators, or among individuals within groups in viscous population structures are necessary to maintain cooperation. However, many organisms are mobile, and live in dynamic (fission-fusion) groups that constantly merge and split. In such populations, the above mechanisms may be inadequate to explain cooperation. Here, we develop a minimal model that explicitly accounts for mobility and cohesion among organisms. We find that mobility can support cooperation via emergent dynamic groups, even in the absence of previously known mechanisms. Our results may offer insights into the evolution of cooperation in animals that live in fission fusion groups, such as birds, fish or mammals, or microbes living in turbulent media, such as in oceans or in the bloodstreams of animal hosts.

 

Joshi J, Couzin ID, Levin SA, Guttal V (2017) Mobility can promote the evolution of cooperation via emergent self-assortment dynamics. PLoS Comput Biol13(9): e1005732. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005732


Via Complexity Digest
Arjen ten Have's insight:
Cooperation is always explained by Hamilton's rule (Benefit > Relationship*Cost) but that does not hold when mobility is taken into account. Here a model is presented that deals with mobility. Although modeled for animals, this obviously goes for Human society as well.
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[1701.02389] Information theory, predictability, and the emergence of complex life

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Towards physical principles of biological evolution

bioRxiv - the preprint server for biology, operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a research and educational institution
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A polychromatic ‘greenbeard’ locus determines patterns of cooperation in a social amoeba

A polychromatic ‘greenbeard’ locus determines patterns of cooperation in a social amoeba | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Cooperation can be stabilized against exploitation if cooperators can reliably recognize each other.
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Chasing Ecological Interactions

Chasing Ecological Interactions | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it

Basic research on biodiversity has concentrated on individual species—naming new species, studying distribution patterns, and analyzing their evolutionary relationships. Yet biodiversity is more than a collection of individual species; it is the combination of biological entities and processes that support life on Earth. To understand biodiversity we must catalog it, but we must also assess the ways species interact with other species to provide functional support for the Tree of Life. Ecological interactions may be lost well before the species involved in those interactions go extinct; their ecological functions disappear even though they remain. Here, I address the challenges in studying the functional aspects of species interactions and how basic research is helping us address the fast-paced extinction of species due to human activities.

 

Jordano P (2016) Chasing Ecological Interactions. PLoS Biol 14(9): e1002559. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1002559


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Because Biodiversity serves Humankind and has inherent value
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BMC Evolutionary Biology

BMC Evolutionary Biology | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Parallel or convergent evolution in human population genomic data revealed by genotype networks
Arjen ten Have's insight:
I would need to read this but given this is (peer reviewed) work by Andreas Wagner I trust this interesting conclusion is correct. No matter what, the approach is very interesting, obviously at this scale, evolution should be seen using networks rather than trees.
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Mouse microbes may make scientific studies harder to replicate

Mouse microbes may make scientific studies harder to replicate | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
The zoo of bacteria and viruses within each lab animal may be confounding experiments
Arjen ten Have's insight:
It will not only be the gut microbiome that affects reproducibility of experiments. If you accept epistasis as a general mechanism (epistasis is a strict genetic term but can IMO easily be applied as a general term), it explains why particularly cohort studies are difficult to reproduce. Why does one diet work person X but not for person Y. Simply because they are different!
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Socially Enforced Nepotism: How Norms and Reputation Can Amplify Kin Altruism

Socially Enforced Nepotism: How Norms and Reputation Can Amplify Kin Altruism | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Kin selection, which can lead organisms to behave altruistically to their genetic relatives, works differently when—as is often the case in human societies—altruism can be boosted by social pressure. Here I present a model of social norms enforced by indirect reciprocity. In the model there are many alternative stable allocations of rewards (“distributional norms”); a stable norm is stable in the sense that each player is best off following the norm if other players do the same. Stable norms vary widely in how equally they reward players with unequal abilities. In a population of mixed groups (some group members follow one norm, some follow another, and some compromise) with modest within-group coefficients of relatedness, selection within groups favors those who compromise, and selection between groups favors generous generalized reciprocity rather than balanced reciprocity. Thus evolved social norms can amplify kin altruism, giving rise to a uniquely human mode of kin-based sociality distinct from spontaneous altruism among close kin, or cooperation among non-kin.
Arjen ten Have's insight:
Group selection is nonsensical but that does not mean that social processes cannot affect evolution
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Small groups and long memories promote cooperation

Small groups and long memories promote cooperation | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Complex social behaviors lie at the heart of many of the challenges facing evolutionary biology, sociology, economics, and beyond.
Arjen ten Have's insight:
Small groups and good memory promote cooperation. No surprise here, still it has to be shown adequately. Moreove, the authors combined groupsize and memory evolution and this results in coevolution. Ver cool. 
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Humans are still evolving—and we can watch it happen

Humans are still evolving—and we can watch it happen | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Analyses of thousands of sequenced genomes show changes in as little as a generation
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Applying Selective Sweep to ID selection!
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Do Honeybees Feel? Scientists Are Entertaining the Idea

Do Honeybees Feel? Scientists Are Entertaining the Idea | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
An Australian scientist and a philosopher propose that the structure of insect brains suggests they have the capacity for basic awareness.
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Share your insight
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Evolution Is Moving Us Away from Selfishness. But Where Is It Taking Us? | Big Think

Evolution Is Moving Us Away from Selfishness. But Where Is It Taking Us? | Big Think | Darwinian Ascension | Scoop.it
Renowned medical researcher Dr. Rudolph Tanzi takes you on a tour of the brain, and explains why positive thinking might be the best gift you can give your genes this holiday season.
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