Navigation Links
New book explores relentless evolution in a constantly changing world
Date:4/18/2013

When we look around in nature, most species seem well adapted to their environment. Scientists have found, however, that species evolve relentlessly and that evolutionary changes occur at a surprisingly rapid pace.

How to reconcile these observations is the focus of a new book by John N. Thompson, distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In Relentless Evolution (University of Chicago Press), Thompson argues that species must be able to evolve constantly or they will not persist.

"Evolution is more relentless and often more rapid than we thought as recently as a decade ago," Thompson said.

Populations within species evolve in different ways, adapting to local physical conditions and to a continually changing web of interacting species. Generation after generation, natural selection constantly adjusts the traits of populations. For the most part, however, this relentless evolution is not what most people envision when they think of evolution--it does not lead to the emergence of new species or "directional" change in the traits of a species.

"Much of adaptive evolution does not lead anywhere, yet these small changes are crucially important," Thompson writes. "These continual microevolutionary changes keep populations in the evolutionary game as they interact with other species that are themselves constantly evolving. These seemingly aimless meanderings are the essential dynamics of evolution, with directional change and speciation as occasional outcomes."

Pathogens and pests that affect people and crops offer some of the most familiar and compelling examples of relentless evolution. Bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics, insects evolve resistance to pesticides, and plant pathogens evolve to overcome disease-resistant varieties of crops.

In natural systems, biologists have documented hundreds of cases of ongoing evolution in a wide range of species. These examples include changes in morphological and physiological traits, life histories, behaviors, and interactions with other species. Microbial populations can evolve new traits in a matter of weeks, while plants and animals can evolve in detectable ways within a few decades or even a few years.

Relentless Evolution examines the pace and dynamics of evolutionary change and the ecological drivers of ongoing adaptive change in species and populations. It is Thompson's fourth book on evolution, continuing his exploration of the processes that drive evolution and shape the entangled web of life.

"Relentless Evolution is a masterful synthesis of scientific fields that are expanding at astonishing speed," said Carl Zimmer, an award-winning science writer and book author. "Surveying research as varied as lab experiments on bacteria to millions of years of coevolution between insects and flowers, John N. Thompson provides readers with a twenty-first century view of evolutionary change, unfolding all around us and shaping our world."


'/>"/>

Contact: Tim Stephens
stephens@ucsc.edu
831-459-2495
University of California - Santa Cruz
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study explores long-term water quality trends in near-pristine streams
2. The Scars of Human Evolution briefing explores physical fallout from 2-footed walking
3. UA explores promoting teen health via text message
4. USDA explores using novel genetic labs for faster detection of E. coli
5. New clinical trial explores use of smartphone application for postpartum weight loss
6. Forest killer plant study explores rapid environmental change factors
7. Boston Healthcare Associates Roundtable Explores Challenges and Opportunities Surrounding the Value of Big Data within the Life Sciences
8. Whats in a surname? New study explores what the evolution of names reveals about China
9. New clinical trial explores novel noninvasive colon cancer screening test
10. Genome sequencing of the living coelacanth sheds light on the evolution of land vertebrate
11. Evolution Marketing Research Grows its Practice with Addition of Three Key Industry Professionals
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/24/2017)... , April 24, 2017 Janice ... partner with  Identity Strategy Partners, LLP (IdSP) , ... or without President Trump,s March 6, 2017 ... Entry , refugee vetting can be instilled with greater ... (Right now, all refugee applications are suspended by ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert in ... media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid codec ... provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the upcoming ... NAB show at the Las Vegas Convention ... Click ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... 13, 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing ... feature emerging and evolving technology through its 3D Printing ... run alongside the expo portion of the event and ... demonstrations focused on trending topics within 3D printing and ... manufacturing event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Personal eye wash is a basic first aid supply for any work environment, ... eye do you rinse first if a dangerous substance enters both eyes? It’s one less ... with its unique dual eye piece. , “Whether its dirt and debris, or an acid ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and ... lives of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger cities ... Treepex - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... For the second time ... US2020 STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled to Washington, D.C. ... US2020. , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of STEM education in ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee is ... honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy. ... world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held February ...
Breaking Biology Technology: