Evolution is Sweet

Originally posted on LifeApps... Millions of years ago, in the middle of Africa’s jungles, our primate ancestors moved through the treetops in search of their food. The most energy-dense foods they could find were sugar-rich fruits. In an environment where predators could be around every corner, finding a fast-burning food source was essential for their... Continue Reading →

Train Your Brain with Mindfulness, Thanks to Evolution

by Jordan Pennells - Originally posted on LIFEApps. Your brain can be trained like a muscle! Just like lifting weights, a repeated mental activity such as meditation can strengthen beneficial neural pathways. The malleability of your brain in response to external stimuli such as meditation is known as neuroplasticity. This phenomenon evolved over millions of... Continue Reading →

Life Fast, Die Young: The Evolution of Aging

Originally posted on the LIFE Apps science blog... By Jordan Pennells To take care of your health is to delay the inevitable biological deterioration of your body, to fight against the unyielding aging process. But there’s another way to view the process of aging, if we expand the time frame from an individual’s lifetime to evolutionary time.... Continue Reading →

LIFE and a Love of Evolution

Originally posted on LIFE Apps science blogging platform...   G’day guys! My name is Jordan. I'm a graduate bioengineer and a first year PhD student researching sustainable plant-based nanomaterials at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN). I am intensely interested in all aspects of evolution, from the origins of life, to the development of... Continue Reading →

Agricultural Challenges (1)

Gene X Environment Interaction: As discussed in a previous post, agricultural biotechnologies developed in the 1990s resulted in increased yields, but these techniques were targeted towards traits controlled by a relatively simple pathway consisting of only a handful of genes (i.e. insect and herbicide protection). However, this was not possible for complex traits such as drought resistance, which... Continue Reading →

History of Agriculture

Origins: The inception of agriculture approximately 10,000 years ago shifted the predominant homo sapiens lifestyle from nomadic groups of hunter-gatherers, to larger social groups that 'put down roots' and formed a stable community. For the first time in history, agriculture generated a net food surplus, removing the need to follow seasonal patterns of wild plants and... Continue Reading →

Coevolution

by Jordan Pennells Examples of coevolution are not only pervasive between species in nature, but are intimately linked to the complex evolution of plants and animals themselves. Mitochondria, commonly proclaimed as the 'powerhouse of the cell', was likely once a bacterial entity that infected a primordial eukaryotic cell. While the bacteria found a safe habitat... Continue Reading →

Sex and Sexual Selection

Why bother with sex? What's the point of sperm and egg (gamete) production, and the recombination of two parent's chromosomes into their offspring, when we could pass on our genome directly to the next generation in an asexual manner? Despite the high social value humans place on sex, there are a number of reasons that... Continue Reading →

Aging

So why do we age? Aging - the deterioration of the body (soma) and diminished reproductive output over time - is a phenomenon that has puzzled evolutionary biologists for decades. Mechanistic causes show the how, through the soma wearing out from oxidative stress, cellular signalling breakdown etc., but assessing the why brings us to question... Continue Reading →

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