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Extra info for Nature (Vol. 438, No. 7069, 8 December 2005)

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Lohi, H. et al. Science 307, 81 (2005). 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. WATER Ins and outs of ice nucleation Srikanth Sastry Laboratory experiments point to a mechanism by which ice forms from supercooled water with surprising alacrity. Such a mechanism may help to explain ice formation in the atmosphere under certain conditions. In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle, Earth’s waters freeze over on contact with ice-9, a fictional form of ice that is more stable than water. Vonnegut depicts an imaginary and extreme scenario of how the thermodynamics of water might dictate the fate of the planet.

So too is an amusingly exhaustive questionnaire that Darwin sent to ‘gentleman farmers’, enquiring about their experiences with artificial breeding. The atmosphere is congenial: sounds of ocean life are heard in the section devoted to Darwin’s voyage on the Beagle; there is a ‘condensedtime’ video of the ‘Sandwalk’ footpath around Darwin’s home and workplace, Down House in Kent, UK; and in the exit room, a voiceover of the final words from Darwin’s book On The Origin of Species ushers you through a collection of orchids.

746 dogs must have accompanied late Pleistocene humans across the Bering Straits, which means they were domesticated at least 15,000 years ago, probably in southeast Asia3. Modern dog breeds have subsequently been generated by selecting for existing traits among the wild ancestors — a prime example of evolution by selection. The extraordinary variation in shape, size, behaviour and physiology of the breeds makes the dog a unique genetic model; each pure breed is an inbred, isolated genetic population, with simplified genetic structures that can be linked to their physical traits.

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