Evolution of Darwin’s Finches Tracked at Genetic Level

Researchers are pinpointing the genes that lie behind the varied beaks of Darwin’s finches – the iconic birds whose facial variations have become a classic example of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

Last year, researchers identified a gene that helps to determine the shape of the birds’ beaks. Today in Science, they report a different gene that controls beak size. Shifts in this gene underlay an evolutionary change that researchers watched in 2004–05, during a drought that ravaged the Galapagos Islands, where the finches live. The beak sizes of one population of finches shrank, so as to avoid competing for food sources with a different kind of finch – and their genetics changed accordingly.

Source: ‘Evolution of Darwin’s Finches Tracked at Genetic Level‘.

22-04-2016 22.39 | Door: Stommeling Jones | Categorie: Beesten in het nieuws, Losse skakels, Wetenschap

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