1, 2, 10000…simulate!

Simulations of the evolution of sexual dimorphism: I decided to keep the nice one-package approach, using R for simulations (and not Mathematica, which still comes in handy sometimes, for example to double-check derivatives).

popgen equations

Felix’s  code and equation blob

Epigenetic inheritance in Darwin’s ‘The Origin of Species’ (1859)

What we know today as Lamarckian inheritance was mainstream thinking in the 19th century. Even Darwin saw no problem in adding a flavour of transgenerational epigenetic inheritance to his famous book:

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms.

Craig Venter interview on his new Human Longevity Inc. project

The following is from http://www.thetakeaway.org/story/j-craig-venter-living-longer-healther-lives/ where the recording of the interview can also be found.

“Genomic and synthetic life scientist J. Craig Venter says aging is a phenomenon we can control and arrest through genomic science. He believes that by aggressively accelerating human mapping we can better understand—and prevent—the consequences of human aging.

J. Craig Venter’s new project is called Human Longevity Inc. and comes with private funding and an association with the University of California San Diego. The company will combine genetic and medical data at a massive scale to come up with new ways to predict, prevent and treat diseases of aging, such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Venter says it will be the largest DNA sequencing operation in the world—capable of processing 40,000 human genomes a year.

“Age is the number one risk factor for every disease, but it’s not treated as a disease on its own,” says Venter.

To crack the question of aging, Venter says his new project will connect layers of information that have never been put together, starting with the entire human genome and then layering in the genetic code of the microbes, in addition to measuring proteins and chemicals.”