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 Programming cells with computer-like logic
27.07.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

nachricht Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics
27.07.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Physicists Design Ultrafocused Pulses

Physicists working with researcher Oriol Romero-Isart devised a new simple scheme to theoretically generate arbitrarily short and focused electromagnetic fields. This new tool could be used for precise sensing and in microscopy.

Microwaves, heat radiation, light and X-radiation are examples for electromagnetic waves. Many applications require to focus the electromagnetic fields to...

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Programming cells with computer-like logic

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Identified the component that allows a lethal bacteria to spread resistance to antibiotics

27.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Malaria Already Endemic in the Mediterranean by the Roman Period

27.07.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>