Hybridization patterns in two contact zones of grass snakes reveal a new Central European snake species | Scientific Reports
This is amazing news. Natrix natrix -previously thought to be the only grass snake in the UK – has been found to be genetically distinct from what was previously thought to be a variation rather than separate species, the newly named Natrix venaticus. Studies sampled mtDNA from existing skins and specimens and found clear genetic differences between the two, confirming Natrix venaticus as a separate and distinct species. No living snakes were harmed for the study either, which is always good news.
Darwin’s Fish: Evolutionary controversies in the fossil record | University of Oxford Podcasts – Audio and Video Lectures
Great lecture by Matt Friedman on Darwin’s (and others’) discoveries about evolution and genetics, symmetry in fish, and other things.
Edit: I have since discovered Friedman, M. has written numerous papers on teleost fish, whilst writing my own essays. A very clever man.
We all know that mtDNA isn’t human in origin and was probably originally an assimilated bacteria (chloroplasts in plants being the result of a similar evolutionary occurrence of engulfed cyanobacterium), but apparently there’s more.
“In fact, about 8 percent of what we think of as our “human” DNA actually came from viruses. In some cases, HERV sequences have been adopted by the human body to serve a useful purpose, such as one that helps pregnant women’s bodies build a cell layer around a developing fetus to protect it from toxins in the mother’s blood.”