Navigation Links
'Armored' fish study helps strengthen Darwin's natural selection theory
Date:8/28/2008

Shedding some genetically induced excess baggage may have helped a tiny fish thrive in freshwater and outsize its marine ancestors, according to a UBC study published today in Science Express.

Measuring three to 10 centimetres long, stickleback fish originated in the ocean but began populating freshwater lakes and streams following the last ice age. Over the past 20,000 years - a relatively short time span in evolutionary terms - freshwater sticklebacks have lost their bony lateral plates, or "armour," in these new environments.

"Scientists have identified a mutant form of a gene, or allele, that prohibits the growth of armour," says UBC Zoology PhD candidate Rowan Barrett. Found in fewer than one per cent of marine sticklebacks, this allele is very common in freshwater populations.

Barrett and co-authors UBC post-doctoral fellow Sean Rogers and Prof. Dolph Schluter set out to investigate whether the armour gene may have helped sticklebacks "invade" freshwater environments. They relocated 200 marine sticklebacks with the rare armour reduction allele to freshwater experimental ponds.

"By documenting the physical traits and genetic makeup of the offspring produced by these marine sticklebacks in freshwater, we were able to track how natural selection operates on this gene," says Rogers.

"We found a significant increase in the frequency of this allele in their offspring, evidence that natural selection favours reduced armour in freshwater," says Barrett.

Barrett and Rogers also found that offspring carrying the allele are significantly larger in size. "It leads us to believe that the genetic expression is also tied to increased growth rate," says Barrett.

"If the fish aren't expending resources growing bones - which may be significantly more difficult in freshwater due to its lack of ions - they can devote more energy to increasing biomass," says Barrett. "This in turn allows them to breed earlier and improves over-winter survival rate."

Celebrating its 150th anniversary this week, Darwin's first publication of his natural selection theory proposed that challenging environments would lead to a struggle for existence, or "survival of the fittest." Since then, scientists have advanced the theory by contributing an understanding of how genes affect evolution.

"This study provides further evidence for Darwin's theory of natural selection by showing that environmental conditions can directly impact genes controlling physical traits that affect the survival of species," says Barrett.


'/>"/>

Contact: Brian Lin
brian.lin@ubc.ca
604-822-2234
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Childhood obesity indicates greater risk of school absenteeism, Penn study reveals
2. A study by the MUHC and McGill University opens a new door to understanding cancer
3. Study begins to reveal clues to the cause and progression of sepsis
4. Clones on task serve greater good, evolutionary study shows
5. New study warns limited carbon market puts 20 percent of tropical forest at risk
6. New study examines how rearing environment can alter navigation
7. Study links cat disease to flame retardants in furniture and to pet food
8. New continent and species discovered in Atlantic study
9. Study shows link between alcohol consumption and hiv disease progression
10. Feeling hot, hot, hot: New study suggests ways to control fever-induced seizures
11. Study finds environmental tests help predict hospital-acquired Legionnaires disease risk
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017  On April 6-7, ... Hack the Genome hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters ... two-day competition will focus on developing health and wellness ... Hack the Genome is the first ... tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the genomics, tech ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... CENTRE, N.Y. , March 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics ... Outpatient EMR Adoption Model sm . In addition, ... 12% of U.S. hospitals using an electronic medical ... CHS for its high level of EMR usage ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017   Neurotechnology ... object recognition technologies, today announced the release of ... (SDK), which provides improved facial recognition using up ... on a single computer. The new version uses ... improve accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing Processing ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... While art and science are often ... connected than one might think. A Mesh Is Also a Snare, a group ... City Science Center’s Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) on August 17 and run through September ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... 15, 2017 After spending the past two years building ... data collection, GeneFo now offers this platform to healthcare stakeholders (hospitals, ... support, adherence, and data collection vis a vis their members, under ... successful launch of this offer. ... GeneFo ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Kenall, a leader in sealed solid-state lighting, ... sealed and perform efficiently for years. The downlights are ideal for a variety ... such as: hospitals; behavioral health facilities; cleanrooms; containment areas; food and pharmaceutical processing ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... ... August 14, 2017 , ... Opal Kelly, a leading ... PCI Express, announced the release of SYZYGY™, a new open standard for connecting ... for a compact, low cost, low pin-count, high-performance connectivity solution between FPGAs and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: