Convergent evolution seen in many genes, including those for echolocation

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Bottlenose dolphins (Credit: Doug Perrine via Nature)

Different organisms often independently evolve similar observable traits such as anatomical or functional features, but the genetic changes underpinning such ‘convergent evolution’ are usually different. A new study, published in Nature, hints that evolution may be finding the same genetic solutions to a problem more often than previously thought.

Biologists have long debated how different animal species independently developed echolocation, the sonar-like mechanism in which animals listen to their own clicks and calls echoing back from obstacles or prey. In the study, biologists led by Stephen Rossiter and Joe Parker at Queen Mary University of London, drew upon the largest dataset ever to look for convergent evolution in 2,326 genes shared by 22 mammals, including six bats and the bottlenose dolphin.

Read the full, original story here: “Convergent evolution seen in hundreds of genes” 

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