Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Genetic study on mosquitos shows climate change adaptation

Softpedia: Over the past couple of decades, global warming has made its presence felt more and more, and species have been forced to adapt under this influence. The evolution has now been proven by a genetic study of mosquitoes. Researchers at the University of Oregon investigated the fine-scale genetic structure of Wyeomyia smithii, which is a type of pitcher plant mosquito. The analysis revealed that this species is indeed evolving right now, as an adaptation to the rapid climate change that is affecting Earth as we speak.

Global warming shifts weather patterns, influences precipitations and drought events, raises sea levels, and generally makes the world a hotter place. Plants are growing smaller each year, while the ocean becomes increasingly acidic, and all of this is caused by our massive greenhouse gas emission levels.

Using Restriction-site Associated DNA (RAD), a high-throughput sequencing technique, the team managed to discover that these changes in the environment are affecting W. smithii as well. Details of their investigation appear in the latest issue of the esteemed journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

“This project demonstrates the power of genomics technologies, which can provide new knowledge about the vast array of Earth's species,” explains expert Sam Scheiner…..

Time for your close-up, Wyeomyia smithii. Shot by Rkitko, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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