Butterfly restrains Darwin

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.

Media Contact

Michel Philippens alfa

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.nwo.nl

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Life Sciences

Articles and reports from the Life Sciences area deal with applied and basic research into modern biology, chemistry and human medicine.

Valuable information can be found on a range of life sciences fields including bacteriology, biochemistry, bionics, bioinformatics, biophysics, biotechnology, genetics, geobotany, human biology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, cellular biology, zoology, bioinorganic chemistry, microchemistry and environmental chemistry.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Pitt researchers create nanoscale slalom course for electrons

Professors from the Department of Physics and Astronomy have created a serpentine path for electrons. A research team led by professors from the Department of Physics and Astronomy have created…

Novel haplotype-led approach to increase the precision of wheat breeding

Wheat researchers at the John Innes Centre are pioneering a new technique that promises to improve gene discovery for the globally important crop. Crop breeding involves assembling desired combinations of…

A microscope for everyone

Jena researchers develop open-source optical toolbox. The open-source system from the 3D printer delivers high-resolution images like commercial microscopes at hundreds of times the price. Modern microscopes used for biological…

Partners

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close