Tag Archives: evolution

The Prickly Business of Cactus Classification

Photo by J. Wallner, NPS.

Researchers have found a genetic pattern in the saguaro and its cousins that could explain why many cactus species resist simple classification.

Plants like the cactus are tricky. Distant relatives can look like twins or evolve similar traits, thanks to phenomena like parallel and convergent evolution, both of which entail species evolving the same traits independently of one another.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Saguaro Genome Shows Why Many Cactus Species Are Hard To Classify

Genome Map Hints at How Desert Tortoise Overcomes Natural, Human Dangers

Photo by Sandra Leander, Arizona State University.

Researchers have finished the first full genome map of the threatened Mojave desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii), also known as Agassiz’s desert tortoise.

They hope their findings will inform conservation efforts, improve understanding of its evolutionary past and potentially contribute  to  human medicine.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Desert Tortoise Genome Reveals Genetic Keys to Surviving Harsh Conditions, Threats