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Rapid evolution within single crop-growing season increases insect pest numbers
Date:8/15/2011

populations.

"This shows that even without human interference natural selection acting on aphid populations causes rapid evolution," said Martin M. Turcotte, who led the research as a graduate student in ecology, evolution and organismal biology at UC Riverside. "Even stronger effects might be expected when pesticides are in use. For decades, evolution was deemed too slow and, hence, it was not considered when studying population growth an oversight that needs to be corrected. Ignoring this evolution, as is not currently uncommon, can lead to predictions that greatly underestimate pest densities and outbreaks."

Rapid evolution could have important untested impacts in many other applied areas. For example, rapid evolution is important in fisheries where intense fishing causes fish to evolve traits that let them escape fishing nets. Antibiotic resistance and increased virulence in pathogens are examples where rapid evolution impacts human health.

The study was conducted at the University of California Motte Rimrock Reserve where the researchers collected multiple clonal lineages from a wild aphid population feeding on mustard plants. They identified clones and characterized their intrinsic per capita growth rates in a greenhouse at UCR.


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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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