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From fish to finch — learning how to adapt to climate change


Evolution. From grade school we are taught that an organism’s ability to adapt to new environments was the result of a slow accumulation of countless random genetic mutations over decades or centuries — some of which might happen to result in a particularly advantageous physical trait that makes that individual more reproductively …

Are you bored yet? Never fear! Developmental biologist David Kingsley , PhD, and former graduate student Garrett Roberts Kingman , PhD, are here to shake things up.

Recently Kingsley and Roberts Kingman, with colleagues in the lab of Krishna Veeramah , PhD, lab at Stony Brook University and Michael Bell , PhD, at UC Berkeley, showed that, at least in some cases, evolution is less like a slog through molasses and more like a greased lightning skid to the finish line. Think ” The Fast and the Furious ” rather than the Slow TV classic Bergensbanen minutt for minutt .

The researchers studied a tiny fish called the threespine stickleback. But their discoveries are wide-ranging. They found that vastly different organisms, from the fish to Darwin’s finches, have relied on similar genetic toolboxes to quickly and repeatedly adapt to new environmental challenges. They published their findings recently in Science […]

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