An interesting study carried out by evolutionary biologists of three eminent global universities - Stanford University, the University of Pennsylvania and Ahmedabad University - on the time scale of evolution is set to question the way we look at change.
The study, Direct Observation of Adaptive Tracking on Ecological Timescales in Drosophila, co-authored by Subhash Rajpurohit, Associate Professor and PhD Programme Chair for Biological and Life Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University, has been published in the March issue of Science.
The study proves that evolution doesn’t happen over a long period, but it happens faster than we have ever thought. With the fruit flies, the biologists measured evolutionary changes within a single seasonal turn. The large-scale controlled experiment was carried out in Pennsylvania for four months with 10 independent replicate field populations, each starting with 1000 individuals and reaching to a number close to1,00,000 over the season. They experienced the same seasonal changes, the same food and the same predatory conditions. Flies were constantly evolving over this time and changes were observed at the phenotyes and genes levels. No one has measured such rapid changes in creatures before. This work filled the gap between theory and observation. This work will help understand organism*environment interactions better.
Please check out EEE Lab at Ahmedabad University for more on these lines.
About Subhash Rajpurohit
Professor Subhash Rajpurohit is an ecological and evolutionary physiologist interested in understanding fundamental questions around spatiotemporal variation, metabolic ecology and rapid adaptations. He is currently the PhD Programme Chair for Biological and Life Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University, where he teaches evolutionary biology and research methodology. He uses experimental evolution to study how physiological systems function and evolve under defined conditions. His lab ‘EEE Lab’ (Experimental Ecology & Evolution Lab) hosts a resource on Indian Drosophila.