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:
Nerissa Hannink | EurekAlert!
Not of Divided Mind
19.01.2017 | Hertie-Institut für klinische Hirnforschung (HIH)
CRISPR meets single-cell sequencing in new screening method
19.01.2017 | CeMM Forschungszentrum für Molekulare Medizin der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
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...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
19.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation