Thursday, May 5, 2016
HMGA2 Gene in Darwin's Finches Discovered
New research shows the discovery of the HMGA2 gene found in Darwin's finches that could possibly help reveal how the finches evolved into 18 different species over the past one to two million years. What lead to the discovery was a drought that had occurred in the Galapagos in 2004 and 2005 that made a competition for food between finches with small-sized beaks and those with large-sized beaks. The finches with big beaks died, but those with small beaks survived by eating small seeds, and by the end of the drought, there were a significantly higher number of finches with small beaks. Researchers found that the HMGA2 gene is responsible for controlling beak size, but they still don't know exactly how it works. This gene is also found in humans, which is responsible for controlling height and face development. It is not common for one specific gene to have such dramatic effects on survival, and the fact that this one particular gene had such a huge impact on adaptation can lead to explanations about speedy evolutionary changes.
I hope that more studies can be done pertaining to this type of research so it can help lead to more answers about the Earth's evolutionary past. Finding the answers or even more clues can help us to make sure our own species doesn't go extinct!