Category Archives: adaptation

New insight into the genetic basis of industrial melanism

The evolution of coloration in peppered moths during the industrial revolution is one of the most well known examples of natural selection in action. Part of the appeal of the system is the apparent simplicity. The once-abundant light colored morph … Continue reading

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New World snakes are “mimics until proven otherwise”

Henry Walter Bates spent more than a decade living in the Amazon, having the sort of adventures that inspired generations of naturalists. His most famous and lasting contributions to natural history are his foundational descriptions of mimicry among species. The type … Continue reading

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Ice-Age Euro-trips

Recent works that attempt to get at human migrations inside Europe paint a complex portrait of migratory events, admixture with archaic hominids, and adaptive evolution to new geographies, and a changing global climate. Analyzing whole genomes of 51 ancient humans … Continue reading

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What does the island fox say?

Small populations are characterized by large drift and reduced efficacy of selection effects, which result in fixation of both advantageous and deleterious alleles, accumulation of homozygosity, and often reduction in population fitness. What with plummeting mammal populations across biota, understanding … Continue reading

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The simpler cichlid: a recent adaptive radiation

If I was asked to name a few of the most compelling systems in evolutionary biology, I’d certainly start with Darwin’s Finches. Next might come peppered moths, African cichlids, stickleback, Caribbean Anolis lizards, or Lenski’s E. coli. What’s interesting about … Continue reading

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Searching for heroic MHC genes in the fight against fungal takeover

Frogs have been disappearing all around the world in the past few decades. The reasons for these declines have been complex, but one of the biggest players is a nasty disease with an even nastier-sounding name: chytridiomycosis. Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) is the … Continue reading

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What makes a range?

Why do species have restricted geographic distributions? Classic ecological perspectives tell us distribution limits occur where ecological parameters coincide with the boundaries of ecological niches. Evolutionary perspectives, on the other hand, surmise distribution boundaries reflect a failure of niche evolution. Though small … Continue reading

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