Sunday, April 24, 2016

Evolution of Galapagos Finches

After a drought on Daphne Major Island biologists began to notice a change in which some finches were striving more than others. The lack of rain resulted in a food shortage causing the smaller beaked medium ground finches were living longer than finches with longer brakes. This change sparked Peter and Rosemary Grant's interest to study the evolution of the finches on the island and how they were effected by natural selection.

According to the Grant's, a gene called HMGA2 is the principal factor in beak size of the birds.  In humans this specific gene influences body size and height. Birds with the gene coding for a shorter beak were more likely to survive during the drought. A study done in 2015 showed that the birds have  been evolving to fit their environment since 2 million years ago when their common ancestor arrived on the island. Some of the traits that were studied were a result of natural selection and others were caused from hybridization.

This research is important to the understanding of natural selection. Eventually this information can be used to amply to human studies. By studying animals researchers can get a better understanding of what genes contribute to which traits.

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