Author Topic: Darwin, the Pepper Moth, and other Changes  (Read 167 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Graybeard

  • Global Moderator
  • ******
  • Posts: 8410
  • Darwins +880/-28
  • Gender: Male
  • Is this going somewhere?
Darwin, the Pepper Moth, and other Changes
« on: June 01, 2016, 06:28:06 PM »
In the story of Evolution, there are few more famous examples than the Pepper Moth. Up until the Industrial Revolution, all Pepper Moths were a light colour to blend in with the bark of the trees upon which they rested and bred. When soot coated the trees in the affected areas the lighter moths were predated and more of the darker ones survived to breed in greater numbers and the species was caused to evolved into a darker moth. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppered_moth_evolution)

Researchers at Liverpool University have now found the gene responsible and dated the appearance of the mutated gene. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160601141528.htm

“Dr Pascal Campagne, who worked on the study, said: "Our best estimate of 1819 shows that the mutation event occurred during the industrial revolution and that it took around 30 years for it to become common enough to be noticed."

In a remarkable coincidence, a parallel paper in the same journal by researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Sheffield reveals that the same cortex gene also enables tropical butterflies to mimic each other's bright and colourful patterning.

Dr Saccheri commented: "This is highly unexpected, both because the butterfly and moth polymorphisms appear very different to the eye, and the species are separated by over 100 million years. What this suggests is that the cortex gene is central to generating pattern diversity across the Lepidoptera, and more generally that adaptive evolution often relies on a conserved toolkit of developmental switches."” (See https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160601141515.htm)


In short, the Pepper Moth’s evolution was driven directly by a change of environment and the increase predation, but the change in the moths studied at Cambridge and Sheffield was driven by what seems to be chance in which appearing as another species has an advantage. It would be surprising in the latter case if the moths had any reference point for influence in the choice of their patterns, so the mechanism of the “jumping gene” remains enigmatic.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2016, 06:57:27 PM by Graybeard »
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Online wright

  • Fellow
  • *******
  • Posts: 2954
  • Darwins +163/-1
  • Gender: Male
  • "Sleep like a log, snore like a chainsaw."
Re: Darwin, the Pepper Moth, and other Changes
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2016, 07:10:57 PM »
Very interesting. Thanks, GB.

Yet another subtlety to evolution. Though the basics and broad outlines of the theory continue to be confirmed, the details and precise mechanisms by which organisms change, and in response to what stimuli, unfold in surprising ways.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
--Marcus Aurelius

Offline nogodsforme

  • Laureate
  • *********
  • Posts: 10984
  • Darwins +1826/-9
  • Gender: Female
  • Jehovah's Witness Protection Program
Re: Darwin, the Pepper Moth, and other Changes
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2016, 08:40:22 PM »
Yes. Always nice to learn about cool science stuff. With insects, evolutionary changes can happen really fast since their life spans are so short. Like those experiments with the fruit flies. Not to mention that incredibly long running bacteria experiment.
If you have god, why do you need the gun?

Prayer is begging god to change his mind.

Offline Ron Jeremy

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 884
  • Darwins +126/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • Where are all the rabbits?
Re: Darwin, the Pepper Moth, and other Changes
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2016, 05:01:14 PM »
I have an online subscription to New Scientist, absolutely fantastic stuff. Their Life Collection is fascinating

https://www.newscientist.com/round-up/the-collection-life-on-earth/
If your god cannot physically appear before us, then it is imaginary.

It's as simple as that.

Offline Ron Jeremy

  • Postgraduate
  • *****
  • Posts: 884
  • Darwins +126/-3
  • Gender: Male
  • Where are all the rabbits?
Re: Darwin, the Pepper Moth, and other Changes
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2016, 05:15:17 PM »
I've (hopefully) attached a PDF print of the article on fast evolution involving the Pepper moth
If your god cannot physically appear before us, then it is imaginary.

It's as simple as that.