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Topics about "molecular convergence" include:

  1. Tetrodotoxin
    Not many foods served in a restaurant can kill you, but pufferfish is the exception. Tetrodotoxin, the toxin responsible for such culinary fatalities, reveals a fascinating story of convergent evolution...

  2. Enzymes: convergence on active sites and reaction types
    Enzymes make the world go round, each an evolutionary marvel - and convergent.

  3. Lysozyme
    Lysozymes are common antibacterial enzymes that protect our eyes and nose from infection, but some animals have recruited them for a rather different purpose...

  4. Biological uses of silk: from webs to ballooning
    What material is so versatile that it can be used for capturing prey, building nests, communication and even cleaning? The answer: that most remarkable of biomaterials - silk.

  5. Echolocation in toothed whales and ground-dwelling mammals
    Given the extraordinary powers of echolocation in bats, it is not surprising that this group has received the most attention. However, they are not the only mammals to have evolved echolocation. Who invented sonar millions of years before the Navy?

  6. Pufferfish (and inflation)
    Pufferfish are some of the most extraordinary fish to have evolved, especially because of their capacity to swallow water and inflate themselves to something like a football. Not only that but some representatives can be deadly to the unwary diner...

  7. Echolocation in bats
    How can bats navigate in total darkness amongst trees and branches, but still locate a tiny, fluttering insect with extraordinary acuity? All made possible through echolocation, an astonishing sensory mechanism…

Topics containing the search term "molecular convergence" are:

  1. Crabs: insights into convergence
    You might think of crabs mainly as food, but this group is also highly instructive in terms of convergence…

  2. Ascomycete fungi: insights into convergence
    Today ascomycetes are an extremely important group of fungi, and they take their name from the reproductive structures known as ascii.

  3. Bats: Insights into convergence
    Bats show a fascinating array of convergences, from echolocation to flight to nectar feeding. Vampire bats can even detect infrared radiation, while others might be able to see into the ultraviolet end of the spectrum.

  4. Enzymes: convergence on active sites and reaction types
    Enzymes make the world go round, each an evolutionary marvel - and convergent.

  5. Birds: insights into convergence
    Intriguing ecological and morphological parallels can be found among the Neoaves. Many of these forms were initially believed to be each other's closest relatives, but are now widely recognised as classic examples of convergence. Think how similar swifts and swallows are, but they are only distantly related.

  6. Electric fish: insights into convergence
    Ever seen an electric eel in an aquarium? Don’t dare putting your hand in the tank...

  7. Developmental genetic pathways to convergence
    At first sight there is a fairly simple dichotomy between convergent features that have effectively the same genetic basis, and those where the same feature emerges but the underlying genetics are different. The former, however, is somewhat more complicated...

  8. Ants: insights into convergence
    Trap-jaws, silk and agriculture – just a few examples of convergence in the arguably most successful group of insects, the ants…

  9. Octopus and other cephalopods: convergence with vertebrates
    What could be more different from us than the alien-like octopus? Hold on. Look it in the eye and think again.

  10. Light producing chemicals: how to make bioluminescence
    The most remarkable luciferin in terms of its distribution is known as coelenterazine. This nitrogen-ring based molecule is found in nine separate groups, ranging from radiolarians to fish.

  11. Bioluminescence
    Flying through the air on a summer's evening or sparkling in the ocean you may see magical flashes of light that signal some of nature's most enchanting creatures, those that are bioluminescent.

  12. Foregut fermentation in birds
    A foregut-fermenting bird was long considered a paradox. But what about the hoatzin, a curious South American bird known locally as the "stinking pheasant" thanks to its smell of fresh cow manure?

  13. Pufferfish (and inflation)
    Pufferfish are some of the most extraordinary fish to have evolved, especially because of their capacity to swallow water and inflate themselves to something like a football. Not only that but some representatives can be deadly to the unwary diner...

  14. Echolocation in toothed whales and ground-dwelling mammals
    Given the extraordinary powers of echolocation in bats, it is not surprising that this group has received the most attention. However, they are not the only mammals to have evolved echolocation. Who invented sonar millions of years before the Navy?

  15. Camera eyes in cubozoan jellyfish
    On each of the four club-like extensions (rhopalia) near the base of the cubozoan jellyfish bell there are two camera-eyes, one pointing upwards and the other downwards.

  16. Venom in mammals (and other synapsids)
    Beware the venomous shrew! Yes, venomous. And convergent on some formidable lizards...

  17. Taste in arthropods and mammals
    The ability to taste is obviously an essential component in the life of any animal, both to assess the potential quality of food, its nutrient capacities and also to detect toxins or other dangers.

  18. Hearts in cephalopods and vertebrates
    There is a striking convergence between the aorta of the cephalopod and vertebrate heart, notably in its structure and the employment of elastic proteins.

  19. Silk production and use in arthropods
    Remarkably, fossil silk is known, especially from amber of Cretaceous age. Material includes both silk with trapped insects, possibly from an orb-web, and strands with the characteristic viscid droplets that are the key in trapping prey.

  20. Biological uses of silk: from webs to ballooning
    What material is so versatile that it can be used for capturing prey, building nests, communication and even cleaning? The answer: that most remarkable of biomaterials - silk.

  21. Lysozyme
    Lysozymes are common antibacterial enzymes that protect our eyes and nose from infection, but some animals have recruited them for a rather different purpose...

  22. Carbonic anhydrase in vertebrates, plants, algae and bacteria
    Carbonic anhydrase is extremely convergent and may have evolved as many as six times. The most familiar variants are α, β and γ carbonic anhydrases.

  23. Haemocyanin in arthropods and molluscs
    The degree of similarity between the active sites in arthropod and molluscan haemocyanin has been called “remarkable” and “startling”, but actually suggests that wherever in the universe life employs copper for aerobic respiration it will call upon haemocyanin.

  24. Elastic proteins
    What do rubber bands and fleas have in common?

  25. Crystallins: eye lens proteins
    Whereas typically technology demands furnaces, so that the glass for a lens is produced at hundreds of degrees Celsius and then requires most careful grinding, so nature calls upon proteins known as crystallins.

  26. Transparent tissues: eyes, bodies and reflective surfaces
    Read on if you want to know about the numerous animal equivalents to the invisible man...

  27. Defence in frogs: toxins and camouflage
    The many striking examples of convergence most famously include the case of mimicry, but the question of defence also extends to the use of toxins (and venoms), such as alkaloids, where we also find molecular convergence.

  28. Camera eyes of cephalopods
    The remarkable similarity between the camera eyes of cephalopods and vertebrates is one of the best-known examples of evolutionary convergence.

  29. Camera eyes in vertebrates, cephalopods and other animals
    Camera eyes are superb optical devices, so it is not surprising that they have evolved several times. But why, of all animals, in the brainless jellyfish? Or for that matter in a slow-moving snail?

  30. Echolocation in bats
    How can bats navigate in total darkness amongst trees and branches, but still locate a tiny, fluttering insect with extraordinary acuity? All made possible through echolocation, an astonishing sensory mechanism…

  31. Carnivorous plants
    All plants are harmless? Well, not quite - at least not when you're an insect...

  32. Agriculture in beetles
    Think of weevils and most likely you'll think of spoiled food. But some weevils have turned to farming...

  33. Mimicry in fungi
    Insects pollinating flowers are a familiar sight. But what happens when the "flower" is actually a fungus? Still "pollination", but now it is fungal spores. Read on to learn more about the fungi that mimic flowers...

  34. Moray eels
    Eels masquerading as snakes sounds interesting, and that is before they go hunting with their friends the groupers...  

  35. Mushrooms and their relatives (Basidiomycota)
    Mushrooms are not only tasty, but also provide numerous examples of evolutionary convergence...

  36. Tetrodotoxin
    Not many foods served in a restaurant can kill you, but pufferfish is the exception. Tetrodotoxin, the toxin responsible for such culinary fatalities, reveals a fascinating story of convergent evolution...

  37. Beak structures in reptiles and birds
    Among reptile taxa with beak structures, we find several cases of convergent evolution, for example between turtles, Uromastyx lizards, a number of herbivorous dinosaurs and the tuatara (Sphenodon) of New Zealand.

  38. Desert plants with succulent leaves
    Perhaps the most striking case of convergence among leaf succulents occurs between Agave and its relatives Yucca and Hesperaloe in the Americas and Aloe and its relatives (e.g. Haworthia and Gasteria) in Africa.

  39. Succulent desert plants
    Classic examples of convergence in desert plants include the so-called 'stem succulent' cacti in the Americas and cactus-like Euphorbia species in Africa and South Asia, and also the striking similarity between 'leaf succulent' Agave and Yucca of the Americas and Aloe and its close relatives in Africa.

  40. Limblessness in lizards
    What's that slithering towards you? A snake? Look more closely, look convergently...

  41. Dandruff, Malassezia and Candida
    The presence of Malassezia does not guarantee dandruff, as this fungus is commonly present on healthy skin, but it evidently central to dandruff production if other key factors support it.

  42. Extremophiles: Archaea and Bacteria
    Surely, no organism can survive in boiling water or brines nine times the salinity of seawater? Wrong - some archaea and bacteria have independently evolved adaptations to such extreme environments...

  43. Sand-dwelling (psammophilous) lizard ecomorphs
    Desert sand dunes represent an extreme environmental setting in which selective forces have apparently generated dune ‘ecomorphs’ in six lizard families. – Lamb et al. (2003) Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, vol. 73, p. 253

  44. Vision in echinoderms
    Among brittlestars and sea urchins we find visual systems that in some ways rival the arthropods in the form of compound eye-like structures.

  45. Adhesive pads: from geckos to spiders
    In terms of adhesive pads we find they have a remarkably wide distribution evolving in at least four distinct groups, including members of the reptiles, amphibians, arthropods and mammals, with tentative parallels in sea urchins.

  46. Mussel attachment and the Pinna byssus
    It is clear that the Pinna byssus has unusual properties in comparison to its equivalent in the bivalve mussel, and is conspicuously different in terms of crystallinity.

  47. Gut fermentation in herbivorous animals
    Ever tried eating a newspaper? Don't. Plant cell walls contain cellulose, which is notoriously difficult to digest. Considering that all vertebrates lack the enzymes to attack this polysaccharide, how do so many of them manage to survive on a plant diet?

  48. Sabre-toothed cats and marsupials
    Marsupials with giant fangs? Yes, not all of the extinct sabre-toothed cats were actually cats…

  49. Sap feeding and honey-dew production in insects
    Interestingly, it has now been shown that the saliva of the aphids has an analogue to the anti-coagulant properties of blood suckers, subverting the wound repair mechanism of the plant.

  50. Woodpeckers and woodpecker-like birds and mammals
    You think woodpeckers are unique? Consider the ovenbirds. Or even the curious aye-aye.

  51. Ecology and cosmetics in vultures
    Vultures are not only charistmatic birds in the popular imagination, but are strikingly convergent, especially regarding feeding types...

  52. Worm-like body form
    Man is but a worm, but so are many other vertebrates...