Help us make sense!

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Are you a working biologist, biology student, or other person with a first-hand connection to the living world? Do you like reading science blogs—including maybe this one—and wonder what it’d be like to get into this online-popular-science-writing thing? Or do you have your own science blog already, and want to expand your audience? Then you should consider writing a guest post for Nothing in Biology Makes Sense!

We’ll prioritize contributions from folks who work in biology in a broad sense—anything from medicine to basic research, at career stages from students to professors. And, true to our headline, we’ll be especially interested in pieces that show how something in biology makes sense, if you think about it in light of evolution.

Wondering what a good guest post looks like? Check out previous ones by Tom Houslay, Colin Beale, and James Winters.

So what are you waiting for? E-mail Jeremy to propose a post and discuss scheduling.

Multidimensional coevolution, no oscillation overthruster required

Gilman etal 2012 wordleConventional wisdom suggests that pathogens and parasites are more rapidly evolving because of various reasons such as short generation time or stronger selection. Yet somehow, they have not completely won the battle against the host. Recently, a theoretical paper on coevolution in Nature caught my eye (Gilman et al., 2012). Here the authors address this paradox: “How do victim species survive and even thrive in the face of a continuous onslaught of more rapidly evolving enemies?

Instead of treating a coevolutionary interaction between two species as the interaction of only two traits, the authors investigate the nature of an interaction among a suite of traits in each species. It’s not hard to think of a host having a fortress of defenses against attack from a parasite with an arsenal loaded with many weapons.

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Introducing the Black Queen Hypothesis

A paper by Morris and colleagues (2012) has generated some stir among biologists. The authors are proposing the Black Queen hypothesis to explain genomic reductions among free living interacting microbes. Rather than rehash arguments that have been made more eloquently, I’d like to just point out some informative ones

Quick summary over at the New Scientist

In depth critique by Robert T. Gonzalez

Tommy Leung also reminded me of a great review paper by Sachs et al (2011) over at TREE that is highly relevant to this debate.