Adaptive tracking

What is the News?

Researchers have conducted an experimental study of Drosophila melanogaster or fruit fly to study adaptive tracking.

What is Adaptive Tracking?

Adaptive Tracking is defined as continuous adaptation in response to rapid environmental change. 

Adaptive tracking is known to be the critical mechanism by which living beings continue to thrive in a changing environment, but little is known about the pace, extent and magnitude of adaptive tracking in response to a changing environment.

About the study

Researchers conducted experiments on 10 independent replicate populations of fruit flies with each being a group of up to 1,00,000 individuals. 

Note: The fruit fly is the preferred animal model for many experimental studies of evolution because it is relatively easy to breed and maintain, and multiplies rapidly, allowing many generations to be studied in a short time. 

These fruit flies were exposed to a changing season from July-December in 2014, and monthly measurements were made. 

The researchers found that flies were evolving, adapting to their environment, and they were doing so faster than anyone had ever measured before.

What is the significance of this study?

It is a common belief that evolutionary changes take place at a much slower pace than ecological change. However, this is not completely true, and this experimental study has shown that the pace of adaptation can match that of environmental and seasonal changes. 

Source: The post is based on an article “Adaptive tracking” published in The Hindu on 21st March 2022

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