The Everyday Math of Evolution Melanism in Populations Article Discussion

Prompt. When comparing these two examples of melanism in populations, what are the implications of the fact that the “dark gene” initially was not present in the mouse population? What specific molecular changes (DNA mutations) needed to occur in mice? What factors were considered in estimating how long it might take for dark mice to arise in a mouse population that was entirely light-colored? What role did the environment play in increasing the proportion of dark-furred mice in a population that originally had light-colored fur? What, if any, parts of this story involve random occurrences? What, if any, parts of this story involve non-random occurrences?Several examples of evolutionary change are presented in this chapter. One of these deals with “industrial melanism” in populations of peppered moths. This involves changes in body color from light (pre-industrial revolution) to dark (during the industrial revolution) and back to light (reduced air pollution beginning in the mid-20th century). These back and forth changes occurred over a period of less than 200 years. A second example involves a change from light to dark colored coats in mice. The mouse example is first presented as hypothetical, and then we learn that it actually has occurred (or is in the process of occurring).

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