The rejection of R.A. Fisher’s groundbreaking paper defining variance seems to be one of the bigger mistakes of peer review:
Fisher completed his paper on Mendelism and biometry by June 1916 and submitted the paper to the Royal Society of London for publication. The referees suggested it be withdrawn. He subsequently submitted the paper to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, which with his financial assistance published it on 1 October 1918 under the title “The Correlation between Relatives on the Supposition of Mendelian Inheritance.”
- The Origins of Theoretical Population Genetics, William Provine (1971), p. 144
This paper has 2439 citations according to Google (which sounds extremely low), as well as its own Wikipedia page. I’d call that a success.
In addition to its importance in statistics, the paper was a key landmark in the synthesis of genetics, evolution, and biometry.
A few days ago, a colleague of mine was visiting. When I say colleague, I clearly mean friend that is also a biologist, but I like to pretend that we’re not just up all night drinking and talking about polyandry in frogs. Amidst the usual back and forth game of “no way…did you see that new species they found in wherever”, he mentioned a backwards butterfly. “Did you know about the butterfly that has coloration on its wings to make it look like it’s backwards?” …”uh…no…is that really a thing?”
Photo Credit:Rick Cech
Tambopata Research Center, Peru
When my friend shared the picture I had no reply (which almost never happens). Damn. Evolution you are amazing. High five natural selection…high fives all around.
Behold the Zebra Hairstreak (Panthiades bathildis)… Not only are the stripes on the wings going the wrong way, but the ends of the wings look like antennae. Continue reading
Happening at the U of Chicago today is the ASBMB meeting “Evolution and Core Processes in Gene Regulation”. The attendees here are an eclectic mix of evolutionary geneticists, systems biologists, developmental biologists, and hard core biochemists. So far the result has been fascinating, as Ian Dworkin over at Genes Gone Wild tells us.
Follow the meeting over at #genereg, where Ian has done a great job summarizing the talks in real time.
I’ll try to chime in occasionally during today’s talks (@genologos) and put up some more in depth thoughts on my favorite bits here.
First, Pascal the cat thought the book was a guide to eating fish. Then, he thought it was a guide to eating Tiktaalik, a fish with leg-like limbs that is closely related to the ancestor of all land-dwelling vertebrates (amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and dinosaurs).
No, Pascal. Your inner fish is the anatomical similarities you have with fish, because you share a common ancestor with them deep in the past. Though you may think you’re a superior being to your pet hooman, you share the same common ancestor with him, from the first life on Earth until sometime in the Jurassic Period, when all mammals were about the size of your cat toys.