Environmental Change Triggers Rapid Evolution

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Environmental Change Triggers Rapid Evolution

Although previous research has implied a link between short-term changes in animal species' physical characteristics and evolution, the Leeds-led study is the first to prove a causal relationship between rapid genetic evolution and animal population dynamics in a controlled experimental setting.
The researchers worked with soil mites that were collected from the wild and then raised in 18 glass tubes. Forty percent of adult mites were removed every week from six of the glass tubes. A similar proportion of juveniles were removed each week in a further six tubes, while no "harvesting" was conducted in the remaining third of the tubes.
Lead author Dr Tom Cameron, a postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Biological Sciences at Leeds at the time of the research and now based in Umeå University, Sweden, said: "We saw significant evolutionary changes relatively quickly.

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The age of maturity of the

The age of maturity of the mites in the tubes doubled over about 15 generations, because they were competing in a different way than they would in the wild. Removing the adults caused them to remain as juveniles even longer because the genetics were responding to the high chance that they were going to die as soon as they matured. When they did eventually mature, they were so enormous they could lay all of their eggs very quickly."
The initial change in the mites' environment -- from the wild into the laboratory -- had a disastrous effect on the population, putting the mites on an extinction trajectory. However, in every population, including those subjected to the removal of adults or juveniles, the trajectory switched after only five generations of evolution and the population sizes began to increase.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130409095414.htm

Much more in the article

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 Nice to be vindicated. I

 Nice to be vindicated. I have caught shit in the past for suggesting that such was possible. 

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