Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Sequencing the MERS coronavirus outbreak in Saudi Arabia

(Medical Xpress)—Using deep sequencing technologies, researchers from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, US, Canada and the UK have shown that the novel Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus can spread between people ...

Other

Python venom traces could waste antivenom

A University of Queensland researcher has found the potential for Australian doctors to prescribe expensive antivenom to snake bite victims who don't need it.

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Alzheimer's-plagued Colombia region is focus of drug trial

The unusually high incidence of early-onset Alzheimer's disease in this isolated cattle town has thrust it to the forefront of global efforts to find a cure for the debilitating malady.

Immunology

Gene knockout stops immune cell development

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute have identified the key gene in ensuring that our immune defences develop infection-fighting cells. No cells of the adaptive immune system - key to attacking ...

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Common descent

A group of organisms is said to have common descent if they have a common ancestor. In modern biology, it is generally accepted that all living organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor or ancestral gene pool.

A theory of universal common descent via an evolutionary process was proposed by Charles Darwin in his book On the Origin of Species (1859), and later in The Descent of Man (1871). This theory is now generally accepted by biologists, and the last universal common ancestor (LUCA or LUA), that is, the most recent common ancestor of all currently living organisms, is believed to have appeared about 3.9 billion years ago. The theory of a common ancestor between all organisms is one of the principles of evolution, although for single cell organisms and viruses, single phylogeny is disputed (see: origin of life).

In his book The Ancestor's Tale, Richard Dawkins uses the word concestor as a substitute for "common ancestor." This new word is very gradually entering scientific parlance.

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