Episode 15: Horizontal gene transfer and aggressive winners

Zach and Kelly discuss another amazing case of horizontal gene transfer, and a study exploring whether winners or losers are more aggressive.


SciFund Challenge

Paper 1: Adaptive horizontal transfer of a bacterial gene to an invasive insect pest of coffee 

Popular press article

Coffee berry borer beetle


Paper 2: Are people more aggressive when they are worse off or better off than others? 

Popular press article

8 thoughts on “Episode 15: Horizontal gene transfer and aggressive winners

  1. mjbird

    Yes on more about transposons. Sounds like neolysenkoism!

    About the aggressive behaviour after winning. You obviously are a child of the 80s. I’m a late-period Boomer, and we had it drilled into us all our life until it’s part of us to “be a good sport” and make the loser feel better if you won. If someone “blew their own horn” everyone was critical of them doing that. Sherlock Holmes was considered rude because he wasn’t modest.

  2. Morris Keesan

    Yes to transposons.

    Regarding the aggressiveness study, one thing I thought I remembered from the popular press coverage of the paper was that the effect was related to whether or not someone was TOLD that they had won or lost on the competitions, not to their actual performance vs. their competitor. That is, regardless of how people did on the recognizing-the-image task, or the buzzing-in-first task, they were randomly assigned to be the “winner” or “loser”, and the following aggressiveness correlated with how they thought they had done. This protocol was supposedly designed to possible effects such as more aggressive people doing better at competitions.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *