Monday, September 11, 2006

Gene-altered flies testify to global warming

Populations of fruit flies on three separate continents have independently evolved identical gene changes within just two decades, apparently to cope with global warming.

“What we’re showing is that global warming is leaving its imprint on genes,” says Raymond Huey at the University of Washington in Seattle, US, who made the discovery with colleagues. “For this to happen in such a short time-frame in so many parts of the world is rather disturbing,” he says.

The researchers analysed DNA from Drosophila subobscura, a species of fruit fly originating in Europe, but which spread to the west coasts of South and North America in the late 1970s. They took samples in 26 locations in Europe, South America and North America where the fly species had been analysed before for chromosomal changes.


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