Research shows evolution in real time

September 14, 2015, University of California - Riverside
David Reznick is a distinguished professor of biology at UC Riverside. Credit: L. Duka.

In ongoing research to record the interaction of environment and evolution, a team led by University of California, Riverside biologist David Reznick has found new information illustrating the evolution of a population of guppies.

Working in a river in Trinidad, the researchers determined which male would contribute more offspring to the population as well as which would live longer and which would have a shorter lifespan.

"We're detailing how happens," Reznick, a distinguished professor of biology, said. "Usually people look at evolution as change over time but they don't know the details of how it changes."

The new work is part of research that Reznick has been doing since 1978. It involved transplanting guppies from a river with a diverse community of predators into a river with no predators - except for one other fish species, an occasional predator - to record how the guppies would evolve and how they might impact their environment.

To do this, the team, which includes Reznick's former graduate student Swanne P. Gordon and two undergraduates working in his lab, used scales from the guppies to archive their DNA. When they returned the guppies to the river and new unmarked guppies showed up, the latter were marked and samples of their scales were taken for study. In this way the team tracked the guppies' differential success in making babies and surviving.

"We could look at their appearance and see how male color pattern affected their ability to make babies or to survive," Reznick said. "We used the DNA from the scales to identify who their parents were. That means we could reconstruct their pedigree and eventually know over time their success for contributing offspring."

The research also found that males with more or larger orange and black spots produce more offspring; males with black spots also have a higher risk of mortality.

The findings, which appeared online Aug. 19 in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show how real time evolution can be resolved into differences among fathers in siring sons, which could be attributed to how successful the father is in finding mates or how long he lives. It also shows how evolution can link these differences to heritable individual attributes.

"People think of evolution as historical. They don't think of it as something that's happening under our nose. It is a contemporary process. People are skeptical; they don't believe in evolution because they can't see it. Here, we see it. We can see if something makes you better able to make babies and live longer," Reznick said.

"People look at the genetics of aging in mice and apply that to humans," he added. "But those mice are in a lab. Results from studying animals in captivity may not be the same as you get when you look at an animal in nature."

Results from the new work could also be used in biological conservation or anywhere researchers are looking at change overtime because these methods can reveal the attributes of individuals that enhance survival and reproduction. Another important goal of Reznick's research program is detailing how the animals are evolving and influencing their environment.

"We call this the 'interaction between ecology and evolution,'" he said. "Animals can change their environment around them and that change can adapt to how they evolve. The idea of ecology and evolution interacting is a different view. If you look at ecological evolution, it treats animals as a constant. But this research has recorded the guppies evolving and how they change their environment as they evolve. An interaction between ecology and evolution could yield entirely different results from what you would expect if you modeled the process without the interaction."

Reznick emphasized that evolution is not a linear process.

"It's a series of episodes," he said. "What we set out to do is watch and get a real sense of how evolution happens. The path is unpredictable and it is happening now."

Explore further: Change in environment can lead to rapid evolution, researchers say

More information: Selection analysis on the rapid evolution of a secondary sexual trait, Published 19 August 2015.DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1244

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21 comments

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dogbert
1.4 / 5 (10) Sep 14, 2015
This seems to be an adequate study in selection, but the tendency to call selection evolution persists to every such study.
docile
Sep 14, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
JVK
1 / 5 (14) Sep 14, 2015
The idea of ecology and evolution interacting is a different view.


The facts about how ecological variation is linked from nutrient-dependent RNA-mediated gene duplication and RNA-mediated cell type differentiation in all living genera to ecological adaptation via the physiology of reproduction have replaced ridiculous theories that try to link ecology to the evolution of new species.

See for example: Estrogen receptor α polymorphism in a species with alternative behavioral phenotypes http://www.pnas.o...abstract

All vertebrate diversity can be linked via epigenetic effects of olfaction and pheromones without the pseudoscientific nonsense about evolution.

See also: Feedback loops link odor and pheromone signaling with reproduction
http://www.ncbi.n...16290036
JVK
1 / 5 (12) Sep 14, 2015
Abstract excerpt: "The net effect of selection is thus an advantage of orange but not black coloration..."

In one species of bacteria, the net effect of selection was linked to re-evolution of the flagellum over-the-weekend. http://www.the-sc...ewiring/

In another species, the net effect of selection was not linked to anything during the past ~2 billion years. http://phys.org/n...ars.html

The discrepancy in the time it takes for evolution to occur in one species compared to evolution or no evolution via selection in another species suggests that researchers must tell us what was selected if they are going to continue to make ridiculous claims about evolution.

See also: The evolution of the placenta drives a shift in sexual selection in livebearing fish
http://dx.doi.org...ure13451

What net effect of selection led to the evolution of the placenta?
JVK
1 / 5 (12) Sep 14, 2015
People think of evolution as historical. They don't think of it as something that's happening under our nose.


Serious scientists think of ecological adaptation as something that happens in the context of olfaction and nutrient-dependent RNA-mediated events that link fixation of amino acid substiutions to cell type differentiation via the sense of smell in all invertebrates and vertebrates -- as exemplified in the sequencing of the octopus genome via links from nutrient-dependent microRNAs to adhesion proteins.

http://dx.doi.org...ure14668 "We found, amid extensive transcription of octopus transposons, that a class of octopus-specific short interspersed nuclear element sequences (SINEs) is highly expressed in neural tissues.... Although the role of active transposons is unclear, elevated transposon expression in neural tissues has been suggested to serve an important function in learning and memory in mammals and flies28."
gkam
1.4 / 5 (9) Sep 15, 2015
"nutrient-dependent RNA-mediated events"???

Why didn't you say so?
Guy_Underbridge
4.1 / 5 (15) Sep 15, 2015
This seems to be an adequate study in selection...

The example presented is an adaptation...

...and nutrient-dependent RNA-mediated events...


Ahahhahahahahahah(breathe)hahhahahahahahah
LariAnn
2 / 5 (8) Sep 15, 2015
It'd sure be nice if scientists stopped talking about evolution as if it were a "being"; i.e. "evolution does this or that". Evolution does nothing - it is a word describing a process, not an individual acting on things. The process itself is called evolution but the process is a result of individual events that, together, are the process. There is no overall individual called "evolution' directing things, unless, of course, you believe in evolution as a substitute for God.
Torbjorn_Larsson_OM
4.3 / 5 (12) Sep 15, 2015
Ahahhahahahahahah(breathe)hahhahahahahahah.

@LariAnn: Since the other nuts have been dealt with, if you insert anti-scientific magic into a science discussion, show us first the evidence for your magic. There is nothing to substitute for, there is only science fact.

Since evolution is a process it does this and that, same as gravity makes my stuff fall to the ground when I drop them or my car makes a right turn when I steer right. Nothing problematic in embodying other existing mechanisms with the same 'being' the mechanisms we call organisms are embodied with.

The problem comes when religious people likes to embody their fairy tale personas with the same 'being' or more. Stupid is as stupid does, religion must be the stupidest idea for controlling other people man ever made. :-/
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (11) Sep 15, 2015
Serious scientists think of ecological adaptation as [something that happens in the context of olfaction] ...

No, they don't...

Whydening Gyre
4.6 / 5 (11) Sep 15, 2015
It'd sure be nice if scientists stopped talking about evolution as if it were a "being"; i.e. "evolution does this or that".

Lari Ann
They don't...
They talk about it as a process which is finally being defined.
By the way - do you have a name for your car?
Ren82
Sep 15, 2015
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
JVK
1 / 5 (10) Sep 15, 2015
Whydening Gyre 5 / 5 (3) 1 hour ago

I wrote:
Serious scientists think of ecological adaptation as [something that happens in the context of olfaction] ...


The biologically uninformed science idiot with a five-star rating wrote:
No, they don't...


Feedback loops link odor and pheromone signaling with reproduction http://www.ncbi.n...16290036

Who do biologically uninformed science idiots think is a serious scientist?

They talk about [evolution] as a process which is finally being defined.


If I defined how your car runs, would it evolve via some process?
I ask because I would like my car to evolve into what might be defined as a Porsche.
Guy_Underbridge
4.6 / 5 (9) Sep 15, 2015
If I defined how your car runs, would it evolve via some process?


False premise. I can define how, and why, a cat pees, but I have no influence on its doing so. Any future modification or evolution of that process only renders my definition out-of-date.

Whydening Gyre
4.9 / 5 (9) Sep 15, 2015
If I defined how your car runs, would it evolve via some process?

Different altogether, Mr. "Automotively uninformed idiot"...
A car is not a process, it's a manufactured thing with a set amount of parts unique to a particular model. Therefore a closed set, not designed for evolving or even adaptation.
If you don't know that, you can't possibly wrap your head around the much more complex workings of a cell...
I ask because I would like my car to evolve into what might be defined as a Porsche.

Get a real job and make your paycheck evolve into something that can afford something defined as a Porsche
JVK
1 / 5 (8) Sep 15, 2015
I raced a 72 Porsche 914 that I owned in the mid-70's at what became the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Porsche club has use of the 8-turn track on weekends, and SCCA events also were sometimes held there. After a dropped valve at 64,000 miles, I sold the Porsche and bought a 75 Mercedes coupe (SLC).

Re: you can't possibly wrap your head around the much more complex workings of a cell...

See also: Human-Specific Histone Methylation Signatures at Transcription Start Sites in Prefrontal Neurons http://dx.doi.org....1001427 reported as: http://medicalxpr...nal.html
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (8) Sep 16, 2015
Here's something for the "serious scientist", JVK to ponder..
How do you explain the emergence of diploidal characteristics in almost every organism on the planet, in the context of your "model"?
JVK
1 / 5 (8) Sep 16, 2015
From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior http://www.hawaii...ion.html

I don't try to explain "emergence." We detailed the nutrient-dependent RNA-mediated changes in cell types in yeasts in our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review.

Excerpt: "Parenthetically it is interesting to note even the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a gene-based equivalent of sexual orientation (i.e., a-factor and alpha-factor physiologies). These differences arise from different epigenetic modifications of an otherwise identical MAT locus (Runge and Zakian, 1996; Wu and Haber, 1995)."

How do you explain the epigenetic modifications in terms of mutations linked to sex differences in all organisms that sexually reproduce? Are heterosexual males the mutants; or are heterosexual females the mutants. If neither are mutants, where are the mutants found with mutations that led to the evolution of human sexual attraction?
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2015
I raced a 72 Porsche 914 that I owned
sorry: i am going to believe this like i believed your decades experience in diagnostic medicine without a license
you don't have a history of factual claims, Mr. "Automotively uninformed idiot" (Good one, Whyde)
Who do biologically uninformed science idiots think is a serious scientist?
lets see... you are the most biologically uninformed poster here, and you consider yourself to be a serious scientist... so the answer to that is jvk

and just for the record: ANYONE who tried to support a scientific claim with RELIGION is NOT A SCIENTIST, they are preachers and uneducated
(be it xtian or islamic creationist- neither of which contain science as proven here: https://en.wikipe...Arkansas )
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2015
From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior http://www.hawaii...ion.html

I don't try to explain "emergence." We detailed the nutrient-dependent RNA-mediated changes in cell types in yeasts in our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review.

Then your "study" is useless if it explains nothing...
Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (6) Sep 16, 2015
How do you explain the epigenetic modifications in terms of mutations linked to sex differences in all organisms that sexually reproduce?

You ask for mutations when adaptation is the modus operandi in this case...
Are heterosexual males the mutants; or are heterosexual females the mutants.

Mutant is, once again, not the correct word in this context... However, the female is the first order, with males being the second order or "adaptation". Sexual reproduction is a form of diploid representation.
If neither are mutants, where are the mutants found with mutations that led to the evolution of human sexual attraction?

Why, they are populating this planet as we speak...

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