Evolution in Real Time

February 1, 2019
Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus)

Set in Nebraska's Sand Hills, an on-going study led by Rowan Barrett (McGill University, former Postdoc, Hoekstra Lab) and Hopi Hoekstra shows evolution in real time. Hundreds of deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus) were released into massive, custom-built outdoor enclosures to track how light- and dark-colored mice survived in light- and dark-colored habitats.

The results, published in Science, reveals real-time evolution in one generation and pinpoints a genetic mutation related to survival in the gene, Agouti, which specifically affects pigmentation. The study is the first of its kind to replicate previous work with microbes in a lab in real time with vertebrates in a natural environment.  Media: The Harvard GazetteThe Atlantic, NOVA, Science Daily, McGill University , HHMI News


Image: Deer Mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) courtesy of Hopi Hoekstra
See also: Faculty News, 2019