Navigation Links
New paper offers key insights into how new species emerge
Date:2/5/2009

This year marks both the bicentennial of Charles Darwin's birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work "On the Origin of Species." Just in time for the Darwin observances, a new paper appearing today in the journal Science by a team led by University of Notre Dame researchers Andrew Forbes, Thomas Powell, and Jeffrey Feder offers important insights into how new species come to be.

"This study is important because it shows how biodiversity itself can be a major generator of biodiversity," Feder said. "As new species form, they can create new opportunities for others to take advantage of, which, in turn, can lead to a chain reaction of ever more new species."

In the paper, Forbes, Powell, Feder and colleagues demonstrate that the parasitic wasp Diachasma alloeum is evolving into a new incipient species as a result of specializing on the Rhagoletis fruit flies that they attack. These Rhagoletis flies are themselves actively diversifying and forming new species.

For the flies, the process begins with a shift to a new host plant. Rhagoletis pomonella flies originally attacked the fruit of hawthorn trees. But about 150 years ago, a portion of the hawthorn fly population shifted and began to feed on apples. In ecologically adapting to apples as a new host plant, apple flies are becoming genetically distinct and reproductively isolated from hawthorn flies. The apple race of Rgagoletis flies is now a major pest of apples in the United States and is the proverbial "worm in the apple."

Every new opportunity opens a world for others, however. The Notre Dame researchers show that the Diachasma wasp that parasitizes Rhagoletis has also shifted to use the fly larvae that feed within the apple as a new food resource. Indeed, the wasp has evolved many of the same types of ecological adaptations to live on flies in apples that the apple fly evolved before it.

And so it goes, with the formation of one new species planting the seed that germinates in the beginning of another.

But in a plot twist, the apple wasp's ancestors appear to have come from a Rhagoletis fly infesting blueberries rather than hawthorns one turn does not always lead directly to another.

"The idea that there are 'speciation cascades' operating in nature has important applications not only for understanding the process of speciation, but also for theories concerning how biodiversity reforms following mass extinction events, for why certain groups of organisms with certain lifestyles may be more diverse than others, and for why certain areas of biotic regions may have more life forms than others," Feder said.

Where Darwin once traveled to the Galapagos Islands and sleuthed to other far-flung places in pursuit of the origins of species, the research on the apple fly and the apple wasp reveals that important clues to solving his ultimate "mystery of mysteries" can be found all around us, happening right before our eyes in our own back yards.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jeffrey Feder
jfeder@nd.edu
University of Notre Dame
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. HSPD-24 White Paper Now Available From WCC Smart Search & Match
2. High school students paper published in prestigious college math journal
3. French scientist wins the Journal of Experimental Biology Outstanding Paper Prize
4. New papers offer insights into process of malarial drug resistance
5. New paper sheds light on bacterial cell wall recycling
6. Great Ape Trust graduate students paper sheds light on bonobo language
7. How nonstick bugs evade natural fly paper
8. How non-stick bugs evade natural fly paper
9. Great Ape Trusts Wich lead author of Oryx paper on continuing orangutan population declines
10. Dont count on long-term success in climate policy, warns paper in Decision Analysis
11. U.S. IEEE members to report on Sci-Tech at California newspapers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017 The research team of ... three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D fingerprint minutiae ... realm of speed and accuracy for use in identification, crime investigation, ... cost. ... A research ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services (CHS) has ... Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage 6 on ... . In addition, CHS previously earned a place ... an electronic medical record (EMR). "HIMSS ... of EMR usage in an outpatient setting.  This ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... , Mar. 23, 2017 Research and ... System Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" ... ... grow at a CAGR of around 8.8% over the next decade ... industry report analyzes the market estimates and forecasts for all the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/12/2017)... SALISBURY, MARYLAND (PRWEB) , ... September 12, 2017 ... ... Soybean Board for 2017-2018 are asked to submit a "pre-proposal” by October ... us the opportunity to greenlight projects that are aligned with our priorities, and ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... ... September 12, 2017 , ... VetStem Biopharma, Inc. , announced ... and VetStem has full license to that patent. This patent covers ... cell itself, combining this stem cell with matrix materials, and incorporating the stem cells ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 11, 2017 , ... ... offices in Cambridge, MA, announce today that Holotype HLA and other Omixon products ... annual meeting of the American Society for Histocompatibility and Immunogenetics (ASHI) ...
(Date:9/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... September 11, 2017 , ... An August ... varicose veins. Among these are the idea that only aging and overweight patients suffer ... spider veins are only a cosmetic concern. , The Washington State clinic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: