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Rapid Evolution of a Geographic Cline in Size in an Introduced Fly

Science  14 Jan 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5451, pp. 308-309
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5451.308

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Abstract

The introduction and rapid spread of Drosophila subobscura in the New World two decades ago provide an opportunity to determine the predictability and rate of evolution of a geographic cline. In ancestral Old World populations, wing length increases clinally with latitude. In North American populations, no wing length cline was detected one decade after the introduction. After two decades, however, a cline has evolved and largely converged on the ancestral cline. The rate of morphological evolution on a continental scale is very fast, relative even to rates measured within local populations. Nevertheless, different wing sections dominate the New versus Old World clines. Thus, the evolution of geographic variation in wing length has been predictable, but the means by which the cline is achieved is contingent.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: hueyrb{at}u.washington.edu

  • Present address: Department of Biology, Clarkson University, Box 5805, Potsdam, NY 13699–5805, USA.

  • § Present address: National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Bethesda, MD 20852, USA.

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