Human Evolution

Craig Venter Institute Researchers identify Minimum Number of Genes needed for Organism to Survive

In an attempt to examine a gene’s function, researchers picked a bacterium’s DNA. The aim was to determine minimum set of genes required for life, as per the researchers.

They designed a synthetic microbe that is capable of living with just 473 genes. Compared with human genome that has over 19,000 genes, the newly developed microbe has very few genes, the minimum achieved till date. The new development could help in leading to new research in genetic sciences, said researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute.

Number of viral DNA in human genome goes up with discovery of 19 new pieces

Number of viral DNA in human genome goes up with discovery of 19 new pieces

Viral DNA strands have been found in a genome analysis conducted on data for 2,500 individuals from across the world. Already 17 pieces of viral DNA in the human genome have been discovered in studies conducted in the past. In a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health, 19 new pieces left by viruses in human ancestors thousands of years have been discovered. Researchers from Tufts University and the University of Michigan Medical School have also found a complete stretch of DNA with full genetic code for an entire virus.

Pennsylvania farm is suspected to have strains of listeria in its milk products

Pennsylvanian farm is suspected to have strains of listeria in its milk products

Listeria outbreak is making news since 2014, but no ultimate cause has been detected till now. However, recently federal health officials while tracing the infection came to conclusion that raw milk sold by Miller's Organic Farm in Bird-In-Hand, Pennsylvania, is responsible for this outbreak. The raw milk was found containing the bacteria-causing listeria infection. People who were drinking unpasteurized milk or used milk products from farms have contracted the infection.

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Ancient human race interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans on multiple occasions

Ancient human race interbred with Neanderthals and Denisovans on multiple occasions

Modern human’s ancestors interbred with Neanderthals and another species of early humans on multiple occasions, as per a new study. It suggests our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals and Denisova hominin on at least four separate occasions in the past.

Our improved immunity to pathogens is the result of that prehistoric mating, said the study authors. “This is yet another genetic nail in the coffin of our over-simplistic models of human evolution”, said Carles Lalueza-Fox of the Institute of Evolutionary Biology. Lalueza-Fox wasn’t part of the study.

Meat-heavy diet could have allowed early humans to derive enough energy from meals with minimal chewing

Meat-heavy diet could have allowed early humans to derive enough energy from meals with minimal chewing

With little food processing and introduction of meat in the diet, ancient humans might have reduced the need for chewing food. With lower count of chews per meal, they were having time for more activities. Also, adding meat played an important role as it had higher nutritional value compared to vegetarian diet.

Human skeletons started changing in notable and puzzling ways when our genus, Homo, got separated from other hominins more than 2.8 million years back. For example, Homo erectus was quite taller and possessed a bigger brain case as compared to the Australopith ancestors.

Pennsylvania University Museum’s Artifacts are at Risk from Demolition Nearby

Pennsylvania University Museum’s Artifacts are at Risk from Demolition Nearby

Demolition work at the Pennsylvania University (UPENN) has raised fear for some precious and ancient artifacts at Penn Museum. The authorities decided to shift them elsewhere following concerns over their fragility. A 23-story medical office tower and 850-car parking garage is being demolished to give way to a hospital pavilion, which will be constructed soon.

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Early humans ate tortoises as side dish: archeologists discover

Early humans ate tortoises as side dish: archeologists discover

A new archeological discovery at the famous Qesem cave site in Israel revealed that prehistoric cave-dwellers ate tortoises as an appetiser or side dish, the latest edition of the journal Quaternary Science Reviews reported.

A team of researchers discovered tortoise remains in large quantities at the Qesem cave site, which has long been a hotbed for archeological research on ancient humans. The researchers determined that ancient hunter-gatherers used to crack open tortoises and ate them as side dish on top of the large game.

Scientists unearth earliest evidence of warfare between stone-age hunter-gatherers

Scientists unearth earliest evidence of warfare between stone-age hunter-gatherers

Nearly 10,000 years back more than 27 members of a tribe were killed and the event was earliest proof of warfare between stone-age hunter-gatherers. A group of scientists from Cambridge University discovered the fossilized remnants of the victims, preserved in the sediment of a marshy pool that dried up thousands of years back.

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Genomic Analysis Revealed Migration Trends of Roman Gladiators

Genomic Analysis Revealed Migration Trends of Roman Gladiators

A team of researchers investigating a mass grave in York revealed that the people, whose bodies are present in the grave, migrated further than previously estimated. The team, which consists of Prof Dan Bradley from Trinity College Dublin and his colleagues, examined the genomes of nine individuals belonging to Roman-era York.

Earth experiences Signs of New Geological Epoch, Thanks to Overwhelming Human Activity

Earth experiences Signs of New Geological Epoch, Thanks to Overwhelming Human Activity

Earth’s 4.5 billion years old history is witnessing a new geological epoch for the second time. Before this, earthlings suffered a terrible climate change more than 11,500 years ago. A new study has suggested that time has come to welcome Anthropocene as impacts of human activity on the planet are not overwhelming.

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