Seminars

October 9 2014

5:00 pm 154 BSRB

EcoEvoPub Series

Graduate Student Presentations

Summary

ERIK GJESFJELD\
\ Institute for Society and Genetics\
\ UCLA\
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\ Modeling the Evolution of Technology: \
\ Problems and Progress\
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\ One of the most defining traits of Homo sapiens is our advanced problem-solving ability. Throughout human history, numerous technological innovations have helped to greatly expand our population and allowed us to inhabit nearly every environment and landscape on the planet. Given that changes in technology occur ordered in time and build upon previous forms, it can be hypothesized that technology changes in an evolutionary or descent with modification pattern. Furthermore, the history of technology provides numerous examples that seem remarkably similar to biological phenomena such as speciation, extinction and convergence to name just a few. Starting from the premise that technology can be viewed as an evolutionary process, this research explores the application of biological methods to modeling the evolution of technology. While technology evolution is acknowledged to have both similarities and differences with biological evolution, results of this research demonstrates that novel insights about technology can be gained through the integration of biological methods with cultural data.\
\ \
\ YING ZHEN\
\ Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology \
\ and Institute of the Environment and Sustainability\
\ UCLA\
\ \
\ Parallel molecular evolution in an herbivore community\
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\ Numerous insects have independently evolved the ability to feed on plants that produce toxic secondary compounds called cardenolides. We surveyed the protein target for cardenolides, the alpha subunit of the sodium pump, Na+,K+-ATPase \(ATPa\), in 14 species that feed on cardenolide-producing plants and 15 outgroups spanning three insect orders. Despite the large number of potential targets for modulating cardenolide sensitivity, amino acid substitutions associated with host-plant specialization are highly clustered, with many parallel substitutions. Additionally, we document four independent duplications of ATPa with convergent tissue-specific expression patterns. We find that unique substitutions are disproportionately associated with recent duplications relative to parallel substitutions. Together, these findings support the hypothesis that adaptation tends to take evolutionary paths that minimize negative pleiotropy.\
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\ THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2014\
\ 5PM IN 154 BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH BLDG\
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this is idtest: