UW Today

Head-on collisions between DNA-code reading machineries accelerate gene evolution

Bacteria speed up their evolution by positioning specific genes along the route of expected traffic jams in DNA encoding. Collisions can result in mutations.

‘True grit’ erodes assumptions about evolution

New work in Argentina where scientists had previously thought Earth’s first grasslands emerged 38 million years ago, shows the area at the time covered with tropical forests rich with palms, bamboos and gingers. Grit and volcanic ash in those forests could have caused the evolution of teeth in horse-like animals that scientists mistakenly thought were adaptations in response to emerging grasslands.

Mutant champions save imperiled species from almost-certain extinction

Species facing widespread and rapid environmental changes can sometimes evolve quickly enough to dodge the extinction bullet. UW scientists consider the genetic underpinnings of such evolutionary rescue.

Piranha kin wielded dental weaponry even T. rex would have admired — with video

Taking into consideration size, an ancient relative of piranhas weighing about 20 pounds delivered a bite with more force than prehistoric whale-eating sharks or – even – Tyrannosaurus rex.

Moths wired two ways to take advantage of floral potluck

Moths are able to enjoy a pollinator’s buffet of flowers because of two distinct “channels” in their brains, scientists have discovered.