From Chris Baraniuk at New Scientist:
New York City mice may be evolving to eat fast food like pizza
They examined the mice’s RNA to see if the rural and urban populations expressed different genes. Ultimately, they homed in on 19 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs): places in the genome where a single letter varies from mouse to mouse.
Several SNPs were in genes associated with digestion and other metabolic processes. One highlighted gene was used to produce omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. A version of this gene appears to have been selected for in humans as we moved from hunter-gathering to agriculture.
The theory is that the urban vermin have “evolved” to supplement their diet on human food waste.
Eureka! Who would have guessed?
The work is “at the forefront of biology”, says Jonathan Richardson at Providence College in Rhode Island. More.
Speaking as someone who was, yay years ago, chairman of a co-operative housing building, I have difficulty believing that big time evolution is at work when common rodents adapt to eating practically anything… How did they get to be common rodents? And how stupid do evolutionary biologists think the public is?
Has Darwinian natural selection come to this? Or is this story an Onion? Maybe we just can’t tell any more. – O’Leary for News
See also: Can environment change accelerate adaptation: Mechanism proposed
What the fossils told us in their own words
2 Replies to “You have to be pretty hard up for evidence of evolution if you think this is evolution”
If someone is born, that’s an alteration to the gene pool, ergo, evolution.
If someone dies, that’s an alteration to the gene pool, ergo, evolution.
It’s a great theory.
Actually, Mung at 1, I agree with that. But mice learning to eat wallboard along with their cheese is not evolution; it’s what comes of being a mouse. One suspects that the genes of common household pests are suitably fluid and that the genes of endangered species are not.