Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Chicken study reveals evolution can happen much faster than thought
Professor Gregor Larson lead his team on the study out of a archaeology research lab at the University of Oxford. Their findings are that two mutations occurred in mitochondrial genomes of birds in only 50 shorts years. Original believes were that a rate of change in mitochondrial genomes was never faster than 2% per million years. What these researchers found is a rate about 15 times faster. They also discovered a single instance of mitochondrial DNA being passed down from a father. The researchers studied how the mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to daughters within the population of White Plymouth Rock chickens. They analyzed the blood samples from 12 chickens of the same generation using the most distant maternal lines. Starting in 1957, they used a selective mating approach resulting in what is an over tenfold difference in the size of the chickens in the two groups when weighed at 56 days old. They study shows evolution can move much faster than they had previously believed from fossil-based estimates. At the rate of 2% of change in a mitochondrial genome, they should not have been able to spot a single mutation, but were able to spot 2. Study lead author Dr Michelle Alexander, from the University of York, said: 'The one thing everyone knew about mitochondria is that it is almost exclusively passed down the maternal line, but we identified chicks who inherited their mitochondria from their father, meaning so-called 'paternal leakage' can happen in avian populations. Both of these findings demonstrate the speed and dynamism of evolution when observed over short time periods.'
I found this article very interesting because it had to do with the theories of evolution. Evolution has always been a favorite topic of mine and the mutations certain organisms have acquired over the years is amazing. If scientists are finding new ways of mutating genes at quicker rates than they will be soon be able to manipulate all types of traits they want certain organisms to have at a fast rate. This will come in strong use with raising farm animals to a certain standard for the public. Below is another link to an article about animals evolving much faster than previously thought but this being penguins.