Petersfield coach makes athletic dreams into reality

first_img All-round progress For Petersfield High School’s track and field head coach, Machell Woolery, “Life is about choice, so what you miss today affects you tomorrow.” This has been his guiding principle since his days as a student at G.C. Foster College in Angels, St Catherine where he honed his coaching skills. The 36-year-old would make his entry into the world of track and field after graduating in 2002 and taking up a job as a physical education (PE) teacher at Mount Grace Primary and Junior High School in Westmoreland. It was there that he found Stephenie-Ann McPherson and laid the groundwork for the present 400m World and Olympic medallist. Woolery moved from there to Petersfield High in 2005, teaching PE and coaching the football and track and field teams. In football, he was the long-time coach of the daCosta Cup team until 2013, taking them from obscurity to national spotlight at the quarter-final stage and he also did a stint with Premier League club Reno, as their trainer. However, it is on the track where Woolery has made his biggest mark, placing the Westmoreland institution and some of its athletes on the national stage. “I feel elated,” he said in relation to Petersfield High’s rise to prominence. “It’s a really good feeling”. “When I just started with the team there wasn’t a track programme, I started from scratch. Now we’re reaping the fruits of that hard work.” Much of Woolery and Petersfield’s best harvesting came last season when the school finished sixth overall at Boys Champs; then followed up with a third place overall result at the opening meet of the 2017 Digicel Grand Prix Athletic Series, the County of Cornwall Athletic Association Western Championships, which ended at the Montego Bay Stadium recently. His charges have also come to the fore, showing all-round prowess in throwing and running events over varying distances, led by triple gold medallist, Kevin Nedrick, the National Youth record holder, who won the Class One boys shot put and the javelin open events. His strength however not only lies in at the secondary level. Woolery has also elevated his status to the national level, being the throws coach for Jamaica’s teams – twice to the Central American and Caribbean Games and last year at CARIFTA Games. “It’s just that I’m eager for knowledge,” he shared when asked about his formula for success. “I also know you must have a balanced programme to win a championship. Often times there is heavy concentration on the track events but you also need a good field events programme and that’s how I deal with it.” As for spotting a good athlete, Woolery admits, “First of all I look for discipline, in terms of event I look at the athletic nature of the student and overtime you’ll get a better understanding of where their talent lies.” “I look at the physique of the athlete when it comes to throwers. In the past throwers were a bit fat, now the throwers are more athletic and fast. It makes a major difference because for each event you need flexibility and speed. Don’t care what event it is, you need that to enhance your potential,” he explained. As for his future endeavors, Woolery is certain of his career path. “I want to be a World champion coach or an Olympic coach. That’s where I want to go,” he envisions.last_img read more

St. Benilde, San Beda sweep their way to NCAA table tennis titles

first_imgSt. Benilde and San Beda stamped their class in the NCAA Season 93 table tennis  competition, ruling their respective divisions Tuesday at Harrison Plaza Activity Center in Manila.Tournament MVP Ryan Rodney Jacolo led the Blazers to their fourth straight crown in the men’s division in the 11-game sweep including the last win over Letran.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ‘a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Also-ran Mapua snaps 11-game skid, eliminates St. Benilde In ‘Jojo Rabbit,’ Comedy and Drama Collide DAY6 is for everybody Mos Burger to open in Manila; teases with a pop-up It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Nextcenter_img How to help the Taal evacuees MOST READ Margot Robbie talks about filming ‘Bombshell’s’ disturbing sexual harassment scene Also joining Jacolo in the St. Benilde paddlers squad are Serknight Benoy, Joshua Padilla, and James Sy with coach Rudolph Palermo calling the shots.Meanwhile, the Lady Red Paddlers cruised to their fifth straight women’s division championship led by coach Kurt de Guzman.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSRedemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie ThompsonSPORTSMayweather beats Pacquiao, Canelo for ‘Fighter of the Decade’SPORTSFederer blasts lack of communication on Australian Open smogTournament MVP Abrianne Dominique Nuevao anchored the San Beda crew, alongside Angelica Sanchez, Kryslyn Manez, and Rismae Bernal, in the 11-game winning streak.San Beda also conquered the juniors’ tournament, with MVP Ryan Daniel Jurado leading the Junior Red Paddlers to their seventh straight crown. Jake says relationship with Shaina ‘goes beyond physical attraction’ Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player awardlast_img read more

I will not lose my cool, says Alli after stamp

first_img0Shares0000Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli scores his team’s first and the opening goal during the English Premier League match against Newcastle in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on August 13, 2017 © AFP / Lindsey PARNABYNEWCASTLE, United Kingdom, Aug 13 – Dele Alli warned Premier League provocateurs he won’t be losing his cool this season after the Tottenham star kept his temper in check following Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey’s stamp.Newcastle’s Shelvey was sent off early in the second half at St James’ Park for stepping on Alli’s ankle while the England playmaker was lying on the pitch. It was the kind of incident that has often provoked a furious response from Alli and landed him in trouble in the past.But, having been told by Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to keep his emotions under control, this time Alli didn’t react to Shelvey’s foul.“We knew it was going to be a physical game. It’s not an easy place to come. It happens sometimes,” Alli said of his clash with Shelvey.“I’ve been pulled up for my temper before but today we had to keep our cool. There was no need to react today.“I don’t want to talk about it too much. I’ve had a few talks with the gaffer in the past.“I’m sure Shelvey will be disappointed. It was important we stayed professional.”Alli was rewarded for his composure as Shelvey was dismissed, sparking Tottenham’s 2-0 victory in their Premier League opener.Fittingly, it was Alli who opened the scoring with a clinical finish from Christian Eriksen’s sublime pass before Ben Davies wrapped up the points.Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez revealed former Liverpool midfielder Shelvey had apologised to his team-mates for the rush of blood that cost his newly promoted team their chance of a shock win.“The sending off changed everything. He made a mistake,” Benitez said.“Hopefully he will learn from it. He has apologised but that changes nothing now.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Glitz- SportPesa Super Cup finale in pictures

first_img0Shares0000Gor Mahia players celebrate after beating Tanzania’s Simba SC 2-0 in the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 11- In front of a packed Afraha Stadium in Nakuru, Gor Mahia delivered a firm statement, beating Tanzanian champions Simba SC 2-0 to retain the SportPesa Super Cup title and book a ticket to face English Premier League side Everton FC in a friendly match in Liverpool next month.We share some of the photographic moments from the Afraha Stadium where close to 15,000 fans thronged the stadium to watch proceedings. Meddie Kagere celebrates after scoring against Tanzania’s Simba SC in Gor Mahia’s 2-0 win in the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluWell, they say, play for the name infront of the jersey, and they will never forget the name at the back. Rwandese forward Meddie Kagere opened the scoring in the 2-0 win.Gor Mahia forward kisses his Golden Boot award after the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluKagere was rewarrded for his hard work, winning the Golden Boot for the second consecutive time after bagging four goals in three matches.Tanzania’s Simba SC players line up before their 2-0 loss against Gor Mahia in the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluLiterally, Simba were blurred out of the trophy with Gor Mahia going on to register a 2-0 win and clinch the crown, earning a repeat date with Everton.Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr applauds Simba SC players as they pick their silver medals after a 2-0 loss against Gor in the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluThe passionate Dylan Kerr was at hand to clap away his former side Simba as they received the loser’s medals.Gor Mahia head coach Dylan Kerr celebrates with goalkeeper Boniface Oluoch after their 2-0 win over Tanzania’s Simba SC in the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluAnd boy wasn’t the Briton elated! Literally, Dyllie was on fire!!!Ushers stand beside the SportPesa Super Cup during the final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluAnd oh, the good news, the trophy was a thing of beauty! Oh, well, plus the bearers of bearers of good news as well ;-).Everton and Nigeria legend Yakubu Ayegbeni was the guest commentator alongside the celebrated Bernard Otieno during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluTalk of world class commentary, it was the seasoned Bernard Otieno pairing upfront with the Big Yak, Everton and Nigeria legend Yakubu Ayegbeni.Some of the SportPesa crew members during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluWe all guess this is why they call it the beautiful game, eh?Fans enjoy the moments during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluOn the stands as well, smiles were plenty, the beautiful game producing its beautiful moments.Fans enjoy the moments during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluThose who could sing sung; those who could drum drummed, those who could clap clapped. Well tomatoes will always tomate and potatoes will always potate….Fans enjoy the moments during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluOh, and vuvuzelas will always vuvuzale and whistles will always whistle…Kakamega Homeboyz players Allan Wanga and Noah Wafula with friends during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluAfter finishing fourth, Homeboyz players sat down to enjoy the beauty of the finale.Gor Mahia winger Samuel Onyango, missing much from recent squads watched from the stands as his teammates won the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluSamuel Onyango hasn’t enjoyed much playing time since last month’s game against Mathare United in Machakos, but hopefully, he will be back stronger.More fans watch proceedings during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluIt was a beautiful final. Smiling wasn’t an option for most.More Gor Mahia fans enjoy proceedings during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluEvery moment had to be captured and shared across all social media platforms. Here, this passionate fan came in with an editor to ensure grammar nazis didn’t skin him in case of typos.A Gor Mahia fan whistles his team on during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluProbably he was whistling, but we are also trying to understand what was going on here.Gor Mahia fans dance the afternoon away during the SportPesa Super Cup final at the Afraha Stadium in Nakuru on June 10, 2018. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluAge is just but a number. Dancing is an inborn thing to people from the lakeside!0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Liverpool boost! Star man in contention for Jurgen Klopp’s first game at Tottenham

first_img Philippe Coutinho 1 New Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was handed a boost after holding his first training session since taking control of the Merseyside club.Reds’ star man and prize attacking force Philippe Coutinho pulled out of Brazil’s squad for their World Cup qualifiers with a minor groin injury, but is understood the 23-year-old was one of the nine first-team players who were present at Melwood on Monday.International duty meant only a small section of the squad, supplemented by three youth team goalkeepers, were around as the former Borussia Dortmund boss began work proper on Monday afternoon after his appointment on Thursday.Early indications are that Coutinho will be available for Klopp’s first match in charge at Tottenham on Saturday lunchtime.Other first-teamers present for the session which lasted just over an hour were James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Mamadou Sakho, Alberto Moreno, Lucas Leiva, Kolo Toure, Dejan Lovren and Joao Carlos Teixeira.With the first six of those plus Coutinho all realistically in with a good chance of starting at White Hart Lane, Klopp at least had a decent base on which to begin his planning for the game.The remainder of Liverpool’s internationals are expected to return to Melwood by the middle of the week, giving the German three days to work with his full squad – minus the likes of captain Jordan Henderson, striker Christian Benteke and forward Roberto Firmino who are all still out injured.Klopp spoke to those assembled players present on Monday afternoon in a huddle for five minutes before training commenced under him, Peter Krawietz, Klopp’s analyst and scout at Borussia Dortmund, and existing first-team coach Pep Lijnders – both of whom were at the club’s academy with the German on Saturday to watch Liverpool’s Under-18s beat Stoke.last_img read more

Young Latinos say yes, not si, to media

first_imgA bad guy in a bad 1980s Mexican movie is surrounded by rival thugs who hold a gun to his head. “Gordo, why don’t you do something?” he calls out to his partner in a funny dubbed English voice. “I can’t unless ‘Simon says,”‘ answers the partner, also in dubbed English. “Well then, ‘Simon says,”‘ replies the other. The target is one of the country’s fastest-growing demographics: millions of young, second- and third-generation Hispanics who’ve grown up speaking both languages, or in some cases only English. Cable television stations such as SiTV and Mun2, along with such radio stations as Latino 96.3 in Los Angeles and New York-based La Kalle 105.9, have bilingual or straight English-language formats targeting Hispanics. A handful of TV networks are developing English versions of telenovelas – Spanish-language soap operas popular throughout Latin America – hoping to appeal to a wide American audience that includes English-speaking Hispanics. And English articles sprinkled with common Spanish phrases fill the pages of national magazines such as Latina, Hispanic Business and Los Angeles-based Tu Ciudad (Your City). “The real future of the Hispanic-targeted media and advertising is in English,” said David Morse, president of New American Dimensions, a multicultural marketing research company. Catering to that market can be lucrative. In May, Latino 96.3 radio scrapped its Spanish contemporary music for “Spanglish”-speaking DJs who play reggaeton, a Caribbean fusion that mixes hip-hop and Latin beats and has become increasingly popular with Americans. Today the station is No. 1 on weekends and No. 7 overall in one of the nation’s largest and most competitive radio markets, according to the latest ratings from research firm Arbitron Inc. Before the switch, it was No. 18 overall. In-house research found that nothing on the FM dial was catering to bilingual or purely English-speaking Hispanics, despite many Spanish-language stations in Los Angeles, said David Haymore, general manager for Spanish Broadcasting System, which owns Latino 96.3. Producers also believed that reggaeton, whose artists often mix English and Spanish in songs, was being embraced by young Hispanics, he said. “Conventional wisdom says that to cater to the Latino market, it’s got to be done in Spanish,” said Haymore. “But that is simply not the case.” For decades, the growing Hispanic population – now over 40 million people with an annual buying power that marketers estimate about $700 billion – has been a target for businesses. But only in recent years have marketers focused on linguistic or cultural distinctions within Hispanic communities, said Mary Griswold, a radio consultant in Los Angeles. “People often use the word Hispanic and Spanish interchangeably,” she said. “But there are many Hispanics who don’t speak Spanish.” Jennifer Aaker, a marketing professor at Stanford University’s School of Business, said research shows that targeting Hispanics in just Spanish can even backfire because the younger generations see themselves as English speakers. The reaction can be “‘They are targeting me and assuming I don’t speak English,”‘ said Aaker. “For younger generations, that may be a condescending assumption.” Of course, there are many Hispanics who still consume media in Spanish; Los Angeles-based Univision is one of the country’s most-watched television networks and has purely Spanish-language programming. In radio, there are nearly 700 Spanish-language stations nationwide. But many of them, especially those with the Hispanic urban format called “hurban,” are expanding to include more English. Targeting Hispanics in bilingual or English formats isn’t always successful. The Latin Grammys were dropped by CBS after 2004 when an English-language format failed to attract high ratings in the first years of the show. Last year, the Latin Grammys were broadcast in Spanish on Univision, increasing the number of viewers to over 5 million compared with 3.2 million on CBS the previous year, according to Nielsen Media Research. While media experts say the need for Spanish-language programming won’t change – millions of immigrants are new arrivals from Latin American countries – the push toward English for younger generations is clear. About 60 percent of Hispanics living in the United States are U.S.-born, according to the U.S. Census of 2000. More than half of Spanish speakers also reported speaking English well, according to census data. For Nico Jones, a 29-year-old Latino 96.3 disc jockey who was born in Texas to Mexican-American parents, speaking both English and Spanish has always been a part of his life. “There is a whole generation of bilingual Latinos out there,” said Jones. “It’s the American influence. Do we watch David Letterman and ‘Desperate Housewives’? Of course, we do.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The silly scene is part of “CircumSIZED Cinema,” shown on cable’s SiTV, which takes Mexican B-movies and lays down funny voice-over tracks that aim to give young Hispanics a laugh in English. But Hispanics getting their TV in English is no joke these days. Reaching out to them in English, or in a combination of English and Spanish, is a growing nationwide trend in television, radio and print media. “Young Hispanics are consuming media in English, regardless of what they speak at home,” said Jeff Valdez, co-founder of SiTV, launched in 2004 with English-language programs from sitcoms to music shows that are geared toward Hispanics. SiTV’s tag line is “Speak English. Live Latin.” It now reaches 11 million homes – up from 5 million two years ago – in cities with heavy Hispanic populations such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Detroit and multiple Texas locations. last_img read more

STUDENT LOAN PLANS WILL SERIOUSLY IMPACT DONEGAL – DOHERTY

first_imgDeputy Pearse Doherty has criticised recommendations from the expert group examining third level funding which has suggested that a student loan system with the option of deferred payment be introduced for students to solve funding shortfalls in the sector.Reacting to the report, Deputy Doherty says that he is totally opposed to the reintroduction of fees for those attending third level institutions and has insisted that the proposals would have an adverse impact on students from across Donegal.Deputy Doherty said “The announcement today from the expert grouping set up to examine third level funding in which it has been recommended that a student loans system based on deferred payment be considered is something which I, and Sinn Féin as a whole, cannot support. “If these plans are introduced it will result in students who choose to study here being saddled with thousands of euro of debt before they even have had a chance to graduate.“What’s more is the fact that such proposals stand to disproportionately impact on students here in Donegal, where we have one of the highest numbers of students requiring student assistance grants in the state.“In fact, following the introduction of the SUSI Grant system in 2012, Donegal had the fourth highest number of students receiving Maintenance grants and one of highest number of students in receipt of grants to cover student fees, in third place only behind counties Dublin and Cork.“What these proposals in effect will mean is the return of student fees, and therefore education simply becomes yet another mere commodity, something to be bought and sold rather than it being a basic right. “The report however also highlights the gross failings of Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour during their times in office for having repeatedly starved the third level sector of funding each year since 2008, and for having increased the student-staff ratio to well above the OECD average.“The fact is that this system will only serve to further embed the culture of privilege, class divide and inequality which are already all too real problems in Irish society today.“Sinn Féin believes that education is a fundamental human right, and one which no government has the authority or power to deny its citizens equal access. This is why my colleagues and I in Sinn Féin will strongly oppose any plans to increase the costs of education for students and their families both now and into the future.”STUDENT LOAN PLANS WILL SERIOUSLY IMPACT DONEGAL – DOHERTY was last modified: July 12th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Deputy Pearse Dohertydonegalloansstudentslast_img read more

GAA: ST EUNAN’S GAA U-10 GIRLS MATCH ANNOUNCED

first_imgThere is an U-10 Girls Football match v Termon in O’Donnell Park this Thursday, July 14th at 6pm. All players are asked to be at the Park for 5:30pm SHARP. Please confirm your child’s participation, including their name, by text asap to Catriona McIntyre on 086-1918181.GAA: ST EUNAN’S GAA U-10 GIRLS MATCH ANNOUNCED was last modified: July 11th, 2011 by gregShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

GOVERNMENT TDs CHALLENGED TO BACK CUT IN PETROL PRICES

first_imgDonegal motorists could soon see the benefit of cheaper petrol and diesel prices – only if the Government backs a Fianna Fáil Bill due to be debated in the Dáil this week.The Motorists Emergency Relief Bill, to be published on tomorrow, would result in an immediate reduction of 5 cent a litre in petrol and diesel costs. This is part of a Fianna Fáil campaign to bring fuel costs in this country under control.Donegal North East Fianna Fáil TD Charlie McConalogue said: “If this legislation is passed it will bring immediate relief to thousands of motorists, farmers and small businesses across Co Donegal. “People feel they are being squeezed from every angle at the moment and the rapidly rising cost of fuel is just another cost they simply cannot afford.  An instant reduction of 5 cent at the pumps would make a significant impact on household budgets.“The Fianna Fáil proposal also calls for a review of fuel prices every three months instead of the current system of annual reviews. It doesn’t make any sense to only have a review of fuel prices once a year at budget time, when th e cost of oil on world markets is changing all the time.“The Government needs flexibility to respond to this on a regular basis. The Fianna Fáil legislation would allow the Government to act quickly to developing situations in the market place.“The rising cost of fuel is crippling so many families and small businesses in Co Donegal, and instead of taking any action to alleviate this pressure the Government made things worse by a 2% hike in VAT this year.” The Inishowen TD added: “I am urging local Government TDs Joe McHugh and Minister Dinny McGinley to support the Fianna Fáil legislation this week and bring about some much needed relief for Donegal motorists.  It will help boost consumer confidence and will have a positive impact on the economy.” GOVERNMENT TDs CHALLENGED TO BACK CUT IN PETROL PRICES was last modified: April 23rd, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:donegalGOVERNMENT TDs CHALLENGED TO BACK CUT IN PETROL PRICESlast_img read more

Geneticist Boasts of Her Just-So Story

first_imgShe should be ashamed, but she gloats in her story about “how the pangolin got its scales.”Ricki Lewis has a PhD in genetics. As an evolutionary geneticist, she should know better than to trade in just-so stories. Why, then, did she title her entry on PLoS Blogs in Kipling fashion? It reads, “How the Pangolin Got Its Scales – A Genetic Just-So Story.” She doesn’t report, mind you, a critique of that kind of explanation. She seems to celebrate it.Darwin and Lamarck pondered the advantages of the giraffe’s long legs and neck, while a few decades later Rudyard Kipling explained how the leopard got its spots. Today genome sequencing is fleshing out what we thought we knew about some distinctive animal adaptations, from the giraffe to the leopard.Adaptations are inherited traits that increase the likelihood of an individual surviving to reproduce. A zebra’s stripes rendering it invisible when it runs and the fennec fox’s giant ears that dissipate heat and hear distant predators are adaptations.A report in this month’s Genome Research provides the basis for a “just-so story” about how the pangolin – aka the scaly anteater — got its scales. They protect, but in a way beyond the obvious. According to the genome, the armor of the pangolin replaced part of its immune response.If a scientific explanation is just-so (i.e., ‘believe it because I said so’), then no amount of jargon can atone for that sin, nor can a recounting of known facts about an animal. The focus should be on the explanation for the trait. (Incidentally, zebra stripes do not render it invisible when it runs; see 2/09/12 and 12/22/13). Lewis spends inordinate time describing the life and habits of the pangolin (a.k.a. spiny anteater). That’s fine in a biology text or TV show, but those facts are distractions when her point is to explain how the pangolin got its scales.We can commend Lewis at one point: she correctly identifies Darwinian evolution with the Stuff Happens Law, warning media reporters to stop attributing purpose to evolution:Evolutionary geneticists probe genomes for signs of positive and negative natural selection. Genes that don’t vary much in DNA sequence from individual to individual indicate positive selection, because whatever the sequence is, the encoded protein is working: an if-it-ain’t-broke scenario. In contrast, a gene that’s no longer functional can be riddled with mutations, varying greatly among individuals – if it’s protein isn’t useful or even produced, it doesn’t much matter what the underlying DNA sequence is. (Note to The New York Times and other media outlets: avoid “to evolve”. Change driven by mutation and natural selection is not a desire or choice. It just happens. Giraffes didn’t yearn to reach the treetops and alter their DNA accordingly.)Lewis calls certain genes pseudogenes because they have premature stop codons, compared to counterparts in other mammals. The moral in this part of her story is ‘use it or lose it’. Then she identifies more active genes involved in hair and scale formation. Here comes the completed just-so story:Natural selection tells the tale. At some point in time, a few pangolins, thanks to chance mutations, had harder hair. Other mutations somehow guided those hairs to eventually overlap, providing shielding. Individuals whose hairiness began to become overlapping scaliness were less likely to succumb to bacterial infections, and thereby more likely to survive to pass on those traits. Perhaps the armor also made them more attractive and they had lots of pangolin sex, assuming their privates are reachable, passing on the desirable trait.But if mutations were “guided… to” do something, she has violated her own sermon. The genes “suggest strongly that the armor has replaced part of the immune response,” she claims. “The tightly-knit, tough scales deter not only predators, but keep the animal free of infection.” But if this were a law of nature, it would happen to all the other mammals in the same ecosystem. If, on the other hand, she explains it because “stuff happens,” then yes indeed: she has told a just-so story, despite her boasting that her story is better:Although it is intriguing to imagine reasons why animals are as they are – from the giraffe’s neck to the leopard’s spots to the pangolin’s armor – clues in DNA sequences can provide a broader and less biased view of adaptive traits, from those that have stood the test of evolutionary time to those relegated to the genomic junkyard.Could not a skeptical reader think that Lewis has done just that: imagined reasons why pangolins are as they are?Here’s Lewis’s just-so story in a nutshell:Some genes mutate, because stuff happens.Genes that don’t disappear end up in a mythical ‘genomic junkyard’.Male pangolins got more dates with female pangolins who thought scales were cool.The males with scales over their privates couldn’t copulate.Bacteria stayed away from the scales rather than evolving to live in them, because stuff happens.Evolutionary time is a lab technician that makes sure things stand the test.Natural selection works in strange ways. It gave the pangolin scales and the zebra stripes.I’m broadminded and not biased. I’m a scientist, after all.With the power of suggestion, you can believe my imaginary tale.Add some artwork and you would have a very nice book for the kiddies to put them to sleep. (Visited 58 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more