Oliver Pergams, visiting research assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Robert Lacy, population geneticist and conservation biologist at the Chicago Zoological Society, compared the genetic makeup of 115 white-footed mice in the Volo Bog State Natural Area northwest of Chicago using mitochondrial DNA taken from collection samples as old as 150 years and mice collected in recent years.
They found a new type of mouse replaced the old type in Volo Bog between 1976 and 2001.
"The new mice were genetically very different," says Pergams. Structural changes were readily apparent. "Looking at size and shape, the new mice were much bigger and a little flatter."
Pergams and Lacy report the findings in Molecular Ecology, Volume 17, now online, and in print in late December.
Pergams and UIC biological sciences professor Mary Ashley reported in 2001 on similar morphological changes in size and shape over the past century of two widely disparate habitats and species -- deer mice on three different California Channel Islands, and black rats from two Galapagos Islands. While Pergams found these coincidental changes surprising, he said it is too soon to say if this is somehow related to world climate change.
Pergams said the Volo Bog change is best explained by the old mice being replaced by new mice migrating from distinct neighboring populations that are better adapted to survival in the protected bog, which is now surrounded by suburban residential communities.
"This was likely helped by the large environmental changes occurring over the 1976-2001 time period. Replacement with better-adapted genotypes from external populations may be a common way evolution works in an increasingly human-impacted world," Pergams said.
Lacy studies and compares changes of Volo Bog mice both in the wild and in subsequent generations of their offspring raised in his laboratory.
"It was surprising to us to see how fast genetic and physical change could occur even in the wild population," he said.
Pergams said a lesson of the surprisingly fast replacement of the mouse types is not to assume that animal populations are constant. He also said there's a message for environmentalists.
"Humans are changing the global environment at unprecedented rates," he said. "Plants and animals react to these massive environmental changes either by going extinct or [by] adapting very rapidly."
Paul Francuch | EurekAlert!
Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
17.01.2017 | Architecture and Construction