Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New discovery: Molecular variation in one gene affects the growth of natural populations

27.04.2006


For the first time, ecologists have been able to show that molecular variation in one gene may affect the growth of a population in its natural habitat. Research Professor Ilkka Hanski, University of Helsinki, and Dr Ilik Saccheri, University of Liverpool, UK, discovered that the population growth of the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) is affected by the allelic composition of the phosphoglucose isomerase (Pgi) enzyme. The result challenges previous views according to which allelic variation in populations, and possible consequent differences in individual performance, would be of no significance for population growth.



It has been observed in previous studies on the Glanville fritillary and Colias butterflies that the individuals’ Pgi genotype affects their flight metabolic rate and reproductive performance. The present result proves that these differences between individuals also have repercussions at the population level. The role of Pgi is emphasised by the fact that variation in the other genes studied showed no connection to population growth.

How strongly the differences in Pgi alleles affect population growth depends on ecological factors. The size of the habitat patch and its connectivity to existing populations affect migration and gene flow between populations. The study shows that genetic factors and the structure of the habitat together influence variation in population growth. The results also show that the structure of the habitat and the dynamics of the species in a fragmented habitat maintain variation in the gene encoding for the Pgi enzyme


According to previously held views, populations dynamics in natural populations is mainly influenced by environmental factors and demography, that is birth rate, death rate and migration. Genetic variation and natural selection have been thought to have no direct effect on population growth or a weak effect at most.

Scientists analysed hundreds of well-characterized local populations of the Glanville fritillary in the Åland Islands in Finland, where the butterfly has a large metapopulation that has been studied for 15 years.

Research Professor Ilkka Hanski | alfa
Further information:
http://www.helsinki.fi/press/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Contacting the molecular world through graphene nanoribbons

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

When Proteins Shake Hands

19.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

Cells communicate in a dynamic code

19.02.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>