Thursday, February 2, 2012

Science Daily: Castaway lizards provide insight into elusive evolutionary process, founder effects

"Jason Kolbe, a URI assistant professor of biological sciences, and colleagues from Duke University, Harvard University and the University of California at Davis, found that the lizards' genetic and morphological traits were determined by both natural selection and a phenomenon called founder effects, which occur when species colonize new territory . . .

The founder effect is the loss of genetic variation that occurs when a new population is established by a very small number of individuals from a larger population. It often results in the new population becoming genetically or morphologically different from the original population."

Anti-evolutionists have suggested that evolution has never been observed. This study suggests otherwise.

Scientists have also noted changes in the species Darwin connected in the Galapagos in the 1800s that are now in museums when compared to the modern days species in the Galapagos.

Evolition is likely effected by epigenetics that allows a creature to switch genes on and off in response to the environment. These genetic changes are inherited by the next generation.

Scientists think that epigenetic changes occur in the junk DNA in the human genome.

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