Friday, November 04, 2011

Wanted - examples of "everyday" evolution

A colleague is working on an article on examples of rapid evolution in the context of our "everyday" lives (i.e., things people see/encounter frequently).  What is needed are good examples, with citations, of recent rapid evolution.

Some candidate examples include
Obviously, many will be of "resistance" evolution (e.g., antibiotics, toxins) or host-pathogen interactions in some way.  Other examples of these would be great.  But even better would be some other recent examples of things like the peppered moth story.  Thanks


  1. mackas21 Paul McAdam on twitter says
    "another S. aureus paper but a nice study"

  2. Drug resistance in helminths (primarily those helminths that infect livestock and horses).

    Here is a review of the subject: Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases
    Issue: Volume 16(6), December 2003, pp 559-564
    Copyright: © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
    Publication Type: [Antimicrobial agents: parasitic/viral]
    ISSN: 0951-7375
    Accession: 00001432-200312000-00008

    here but behind paywall.

  3. There is a case known in which a species of cichlids in Victoria lake in a period of 30 years diverged into a blue colored and red colored species because pollution forced adaptation of sight to specific light wavelengths. Although I can not find the specific mentioning of the "30 years" in the article, it was well covered in the news globally.

    Speciation through sensory drive in cichlid fish, Ole Seehausen et al. 2008 Nature

  4. Well, other than the peppered moth the only one I could think of is the emergence of lactose tolerance:

  5. I discuss stickleback evolution with my sophomore Genetics class, but fish morphology might not be all that sexy.

    1. Barrett RDH, Rogers SM, Schluter D. Natural selection on a major armor gene in threespine stickleback. Science 2008 Oct.;322(5899):255–257.

  6. Would tumour evolution count / be a helpful example?

  7. thanks for all the suggestions - Joe - tumor evolution is a cool idea but probably would not count in terms of an example the public might "get" as an example of evolution

  8. Another suggestion from Gina Baucom on Facebook

    This is exactly what I work on!: Herbicide resistance/tolerance evolution in the ag system

  9. How about this recent paper on evolution of P. aeruginosa during chronic infections of CF?

  10. I use the evolution of blood groups in humans as my example in class.

    Many native American populations are homozygous for the O-type allele. They clearly evolved from an ancestral population in which all three alleles (A,B,O) were segregating. This must have taken place in the past 18,000 years.

    It's a nice example because it illustrates evolution within a population, not a species.

    It's also an example of evolution by random genetic drfit, not natural selecction. This is important since, as we all know, random genetic drift is the most common mechanism of evolution. It's a good idea to teach that as early as possible.

  11. More from Facebook:

    Invasive genotype of Phragmites spreading all through North Eastern salt marshes. (And hybrid cord grasses spreading invasively throughout California.)

    Also, 'domestication' and fitness reductions in wild populations of many Pacific salmon because of hatchery supplementation.

    Fred Gould (and colleagues) work is great, especially the Bt-maize resistance evolution, and, the genetic pest management group he's been developing. Palumbi had a popular book out a while back, Evolution Explosion.


    Habsburgs and any type of in-breeding

    flu virus

  12. Resistance against antituberculous drugs that develop over the course of treatment?

  13. Another cancer evolution example from a colleague:

    Sci Transl Med. 2011 Jul 6;3(90):90ra59.
    Optimization of dosing for EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer with evolutionary cancer modeling.
    Chmielecki J, Foo J, Oxnard GR, Hutchinson K, Ohashi K, Somwar R, Wang L, Amato KR, Arcila M, Sos ML, Socci ND, Viale A, de Stanchina E, Ginsberg MS, Thomas RK, Kris MG, Inoue A, Ladanyi M, Miller VA, Michor F, Pao W.

  14. Another, long term 20 year plus study on microevolution and adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa in CF lungs using next gen sequencing.