Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Nowhere to hide: Some species are unable to adapt to climate change due to their genes

Species living in restricted environments such as the tropics may lack adequate variation in their genes and be unable to adapt to climate change, according to a new study.

Adaptation is a physiological or behavioural change that makes an organism better suited to its environment, and more likely to survive and reproduce. Because adaptations usually occur due to a change (or mutation) in a gene, species with a more varied set of genes to begin with, are likely to have a better basis for adaptation.

Professor Ary Hoffmann from the Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research (CESAR), Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne says the new findings suggest specialist species have a fundamental evolutionary limit, and will be unable to respond to future climate changes.

The work was conducted by a team of Melbourne and Monash University researchers from CESAR, and will be published in the journal Science this week.

"Just as variety is the spice of life, the more varied a species' genetic make-up, the better arsenal it has to respond to change," says Professor Hoffmann.

Habitat specialists make up most of our earth's biodiversity, suggesting that this inability to adapt will affect many species including groups of insects, and potentially other groups including mammals and fish.

"This work is important because establishing the genetics linked to species distributions will be useful in assessing and predicting the evolutionary potential of species particularly under climate change. This may in turn assist in conservation efforts and identifying vulnerable groups."

The team used various species of the vinegar fly (Drosophila) as a model, examining different species that lived in tropical and more widely distributed environments. They revealed that the flies living in tropical conditions possessed a narrower set of genes for traits such as tolerance to drying (desiccation) and cold resistance, effectively preventing adaptation.

Although it is well-documented that species distributions become narrower towards the tropics, it was previously thought that all traits are highly variable. Instead the new study has found that a species' range is closely linked to its genetic variation for key traits.

"In essence, we now have a genetic explanation for why species are restricted."

For more information, pictures of vinegar fly species available:
Professor Ary Hoffmann
Centre for Environmental Stress and Adaptation Research (CESAR)
Bio21 Institute, University of Melbourne
Ph 0408 342 834
Dr Nerissa Hannink
Media Office
University of Melbourne
Ph (03) 8344 8151
0430 588 055

Nerissa Hannink | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>