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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.
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.
All plants are harmless? Well, not quite - at least not when you're an insect...
Agriculture in aquatic snails
Termites and ants are famous for tending fungal gardens, but did you know that also a marine snail farms a fungus? And this is not the only example of agriculture in this group…
Autumn leaf colouration
Autumn colours are likely to be adaptive, as the 'default' is simply to remain green up to leaf fall, and both red and yellow leaf colouration have evolved independently on many occasions in gymnosperms and woody angiosperms.
Desert plants with succulent stems
Fleshy, succulent stems have evolved in several distantly related desert plant families, including cacti, certain species of Euphorbia and two genera of the family Asclepiadaceae, Hoodia and Stapelia.
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.
Examples of convergence within the dinoflagellates range from the evolution of a camera-like eye to stinging 'nematocysts' reminiscent of those in jellyfish.
Enzymes: convergence on active sites and reaction types
Enzymes make the world go round, each an evolutionary marvel - and convergent.
Chloroplast and mitochondrial plastid origins
Not only are there intriguing parallels in the story of gene loss in chloroplasts and mitochondria, but there is also the re-invention of bacterial pathways, such as oxidation of quinols.