Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

First evidence that the genome can adapt to temperature changes

Date:
June 5, 2013
Source:
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Summary:
Researchers have been tracking the evolution of Drosophila subobscura, a small fly that is very common all over Europe, since 1976. They are focusing on a specific type of genomic variability known as chromosomal inversion polymorphism. The study has compared how the flies' genomes change from spring to summer, summer to autumn and autumn to spring, over the years. Researchers have shown that the 2011 heatwave dramatically altered the genetic constitution of natural populations of Drosophila subobscura.

The researchers have been tracking the evolution of Drosophila subobscura, a small fly that is very common all over Europe, since 1976. They are focusing on a specific type of genomic variability known as chromosomal inversion polymorphism. The study has compared how the flies' genomes change from spring to summer, summer to autumn and autumn to spring, over the years.

Related Articles


In pre-2011 studies of one of D. subobscura's five chromosome pairs, performed in a population near the town of Santiago de Compostela, the researchers observed that this type of adaptation is related to changes in environmental temperature. Two types of genetic variation were identified: one that adapts to the cold, since its frequency always increases in winter, and another that adapts to heat, showing the opposite behaviour pattern. The relative frequency of both types of variation was seen to have evolved in consonance with climate changes. Present-day flies present more heat-tolerant varieties than those of the 70s.

In April, 2011, monitoring coincided with the intense heatwave that struck western Europe and other parts of the world. The study was widened to cover not only the original chromosome pair but all the species' five chromosome pairs, and fly samples were collected from another population, in Gordexola, near Bilbao. The conclusions could therefore be extrapolated on a genome-wide scale and on a geographical scale, to the northern third of Spain.

In an article in the journal Biology Letters, of the British Royal Society, the researchers show that the 2011 heatwave dramatically altered the genetic constitution of natural populations of Drosophila subobscura. In the middle of spring, and over a single generation, the populations acquired a genetic constitution typical of the summer, because of the heatwave.

According to the study's findings, the difference in reproductive success between genotypes that were sensitive to the heatwave and those that were resistant to it was extremely high: during the heatwave, flies carrying genomic variants tolerant to the temperature increase left on average five times more descendents than those with variants that were sensitive to these changes.

It was also observed that, after the heatwave, the populations recovered their previous genetic make-up. This shows that some organisms possess high genetic resilience to this type of environmental disturbance.

"Our results indicate that resistance to heat has a genetic origin. However, we are not suggesting there is a gene for cold or a gene for heat, but rather that genetic factors for heat resistance are distributed throughout the genome, in these organisms at least," points out Francisco Rodriguez-Trelles, the UAB researcher who coordinated the study. "Our findings are substantial proof that the rise in temperature is affecting the evolution of certain species."

Also taking part in the study were Rosa Tarrío and Mauro Santos, researchers from the Evolutionary Biology Group of the Department of Genetics and Microbiology at the UAB.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Francisco Rodríguez-Trelles, Rosa Tarrío, and Mauro Santos. Genome-wide evolutionary response to a heat wave in Drosophila. Biol. Lett., 2013, 9 20130228 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2013.0228

Cite This Page:

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. "First evidence that the genome can adapt to temperature changes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605144039.htm>.
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. (2013, June 5). First evidence that the genome can adapt to temperature changes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605144039.htm
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. "First evidence that the genome can adapt to temperature changes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130605144039.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Watch Baby Goose Survive A 400-Foot Cliff Dive

Buzz60 (Oct. 31, 2014) — For its nature series Life Story, the BBC profiled the barnacle goose, whose chicks must make a daredevil 400-foot cliff dive from their nests to find food. Jen Markham has the astonishing video. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

World's Salamanders At Risk From Flesh-Eating Fungus

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) — The import of salamanders around the globe is thought to be contributing to the spread of a deadly fungus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Alcoholic Drinks In The E.U. Could Get Calorie Labels

Newsy (Oct. 31, 2014) — A health group in the United Kingdom has called for mandatory calorie labels on alcoholic beverages in the European Union. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

Malaria Threat in Liberia as Fight Against Ebola Rages

AFP (Oct. 31, 2014) — Focus on treating the Ebola epidemic in Liberia means that treatment for malaria, itself a killer, is hard to come by. MSF are now undertaking the mass distribution of antimalarials in Monrovia. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins