Genome size + Cambrian Explosion = Nonsense squared.

I really am thinking about writing a Sokal-style paper for a physics journal to see if they’ll accept it.

The Cambrian explosion triggered by critical turning point in genome size evolution Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Jan 11. [Epub ahead of print] Li DJ, Zhang S

The Cambrian explosion is a grand challenge to […]

What would I do with more research support?

I will keep an updated list of posts in this series: Part One: Background Part Two: “Targeted exploration”

What would I do with more research support? Part Two: "Targeted exploration".

In the first post in this series, I introduced the background topic of my research focus, namely the evolution and impacts of genome size diversity in animals. Before moving on to the specific projects that I would most like to do in the near term if I had the funds, I want to discuss […]

What would I do with more research support? Part One: Background.

One of the great joys of being a scientist is that we get to spend our lives exploring the aspects of the natural world that most intrigue and excite us. However, the equally great frustration of being a researcher is that our curiosity and passion invariably outstrip the resources available for our explorations. It […]

Recent lab papers.

So, what have we been up to in the lab?

Ardila-Garcia, A.M. and T.R. Gregory (2009). An exploration of genome size diversity in dragonflies and damselflies (Insecta: Odonata). Journal of Zoology, in press.

Smith, J.D.L. and T.R. Gregory (2009). The genome sizes of megabats (Chiroptera: Pteropodidae) are remarkably constrained. Biology Letters, in press.

Smith, […]

Speaking of small genomes…

… our paper on megabats was published online yesterday. It’s free to access at the moment. Turns out megas have even more constrained genomes than microbats. Abstract

It has long been recognized that bats and birds contain less DNA in their genomes than their non-flying relatives. It has been suggested that this relates to […]

With genomes, bigger may really be better…

…as targets for genome sequencing in order to avoid bias in what we discover about gene regulation from sequenced genomes, because so far only small genomes have been sequenced. Such is the message reported at the HHMI based on a recent paper by Michael Eisen. I have written about the major problem of drawing […]


Depending on the animals in question, the amount of DNA per cell may be associated with body size, metabolic rate, developmental rate, or other traits. With an old fashioned cytogenetic staining method (the Feulgen reaction) and a new image analysis densitometry setup, we can estimate genome size for vertebrate species quite readily with only […]

Small genome sizes in pterosaurs, too.

My colleagues Chris Organ and Andrew Shedlock, who provided evidence that theropod dinosaurs already had (somewhat) reduced genome sizes prior to the evolution of birds (Organ et al. 2007) have followed up their study by estimating the genome sizes of several species of pterosaurs.

Pterosaurs were the first vertebrates to evolve powered flight, having […]

Gecko genome size and cell size.

One of the many aggravations I encounter when reviewing manuscripts is that some authors greatly overstate the applicability of statistically significant patterns they report. For example, a statistically significant pattern in a small comparison of a few animals may be extrapolated in the discussion to the kingdom at large.

Today I was disappointed […]