Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Butterfly restrains Darwin

24.10.2002


In experiments with butterflies, evolutionary biologists from Leiden University have demonstrated that natural selection is not always the only factor which determines the appearance of an organism. Constraints also appear to play a role at times in determining the progress and outcome of the evolutionary process.



This research from Leiden provides evidence for the hypothesis of Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin. In 1979, these two scientists stated that Darwin`s theory of natural selection is often incorrectly seen as the sole factor which determines the outcome of evolution. Constraints also play an important role.

For example, constraints play a role in not allowing the development of eyes in the back of the head. Although decidedly advantageous, the evolution of eyes at this location will occur in few animals. This is due to limitations during the development and growth or because no variation for this trait is present in the genetic material. Another form of constraints occurs if two traits are linked to each other. A person with long arms always has long legs.


The evolutionary biologists from Leiden wanted to investigate, in the laboratory, whether they could rear butterflies with all possible combinations of characteristics or whether certain combinations were not possible. They used the tropical butterfly Bicyclus anynana for these experiments.

Two large selection experiments each gave a different outcome. In other words, the constraints of Gould and Lewontin sometimes do and yet sometimes do not play a role.

In one experiment the researchers tried to ensure that male butterflies developed less quickly than female butterflies. However, if the researchers succeeded in speeding up the development of the female butterflies in a new generation, the male butterflies also developed quicker. Even after eight generations and much effort on the part of the researchers, the difference remained unchanged.

Constraints were shown not to be decisive in what had up until now been considered the fixed combination of eyespot size and development time. Butterflies which grow quickly, do not necessarily have to have larger eyespots than butterflies which grow slowly. Although both characteristics are influenced by the same hormone, they can be disassociated from each other.

Michel Philippens | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nwo.nl

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | 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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>