Dear Vincent and Nels,
I found your discussion about the neutral theory of evolution on TWiEVO 25 very interesting. How does this theory tie into hard factual data supporting selection, such as those generated by Peter and Rosemary Grant in the Galapagos Islands over the better part of the past half century? The Grants have clearly shown that the finches’ beak sizes change fairly rapidly in response to changes in the food supply.
Nels, congratulations on your recent tenure! Thank you to both of you for your continued efforts with this wonderful podcast.
Love the show. Interesting article on viruses and how we form memories. Great animation also. Keep it up!
Muller’s ratchet vs Amazon Molly
“Amazon fish challenges mutation idea” @ http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43047122
Drs Racaniello and Elde:
I’m still catching up on TWIEvo so my apologies if you’ve covered asexual reproduction in animals before (maybe the escaped crayfish?).
Also, I haven’t read the original paper by Schartl et alia — and I’m not really qualified to judge it anyway, as I’m just a biology fanboy (IRL software engineer) — but the BBC article by Jonathan Ball sure makes it sound like this study of the Amazon molly raises interesting questions.
Background: I love the podcast (even though many of the details are lost on me). Nick Lane’s “Life Ascending” kindled my interest in evolutionary biology, which led me to TWIM and then TWIEvo.
Thanks and keep up the great work!
PS: now reading Lane’s “The Vital Question” – a deeper dive into the mechanisms.
…Aaaaand I just finished TWIEvo #20, wherein you sound about as enthusiastic as I am about Nick Lane’s books; which was … vicariously satisfying.
Two additional comments:
- You really are doing an excellent job communicating. The mix of casual, serious, and amusing is perfect.
- I think it was in this episode you mentioned advanced high school students listening but not getting all the terms. It might be helpful if the microbe.tv sections for each episode listed a _few_ terms or acronyms/initialisms that aren’t easy to spell from their sound. Not full definitions, just the terms.
Anyway, love the show & thanks again,