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More strangeness

Or, what has the most interesting implications - the results of the study or the data gathering procedure?


Evolution Caught in the Act: Scientists Measure How Quickly Genomes Change

ScienceDaily (Jan. 3, 2010) — Mutations are the raw material of evolution. Charles Darwin already recognized that evolution depends on heritable differences between individuals: those who are better adapted to the environment have better chances to pass on their genes to the next generation. A species can only evolve if the genome changes through new mutations, with the best new variants surviving the sieve of selection.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany, and Indiana University in Bloomington have now been able to measure for the first time directly the speed with which new mutations occur in plants. Their findings shed new light on a fundamental evolutionary process. They explain, for example, why resistance to herbicides can appear within just a few years.

Their research appears in the Jan. 1, 2010 issue of the journal Science.

"While the long term effects of genome mutations are quite well understood, we did not know how often new mutations arise in the first place," said Detlef Weigel, director at the Max Planck Institute in Germany. It is routine today to compare the genomes of related animal or plant species. Such comparisons, however, ignore mutations that have been lost in the millions of years since two species separated. The teams of Weigel and his colleague Michael Lynch at Indiana University therefore wanted to scrutinize the signature of evolution before selection occurs. To this end, they followed all genetic changes in five lines of the mustard relative Arabidopsis thaliana that occurred during 30 generations. In the genome of the final generation they then searched for differences to the genome of the original ancestor.

Click link for rest of article. Then consider that they were able to completely gene-sequence 30 generations of plants individually...