Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Species detectives track unseen evolution

19.07.2007
New species are evading detection using a foolproof disguise – their own unchanged appearance.

Research published in the online open access journal, BMC Evolutionary Biology, suggests that the phenomenon of different animal species not being visually distinct despite other significant genetic differences is widespread in the animal kingdom. DNA profiles and distinct mating groups are the only way to spot an evolutionary splinter group from their look-alike cousins, introducing uncertainty to biodiversity estimates globally.

Markus Pfenninger and Klaus Schwenk searched the Zoological Record database (1978-2006) to pinpoint reports of hidden (cryptic) species both biogeographically and taxonomically, and found 2207 examples. Pfenninger and Schwenk, who are from Germany based at J.W. Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt found evidence for cryptic species evenly spread among all major branches of the animal kingdom. They also found that cryptic species were just as likely to be found in all biogeographical regions.

The findings go against received wisdom that the insect or reptile branches of the animal kingdom are more likely to harbour cryptic species, and that these are more likely to be found in the tropics than in temperate regions. Zoologists should therefore consider factoring in a degree of cryptic diversity as a random error in all biodiversity assessments.

A cryptic species complex is a group of species that is reproductively isolated from each other - but lacking conspicuous differences in outward appearance. Researchers using techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and DNA sequencing have increasingly discovered - often unexpectedly - that similar-looking animals within a presumed species are in fact genetically divergent. As well as highlighting hidden biodiversity among creatures zoologists have already catalogued, the findings have implications for conservation efforts. Another possibility is that pathogens, parasites and invasive species disguised as their relatives may yet remain undetected, representing a potential human health threat.

Charlotte Webber | alfa
Further information:
http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcevolbiol/

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>