News & AnalysisEvolution

Field Test Shows Selection Works in Mysterious Ways

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Science  12 Jul 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6142, pp. 118
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6142.118

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Over the past 2 years, Rowan Barrett has made a clean sweep of the three main awards for young evolutionary biologists. His claim to fame: daring to do experimental evolution on a grand scale to examine how selection shapes an organism's whole genome. Barrett works in the Sand Hills of Nebraska, where the ground is much lighter than the surrounding prairie, and the mice living in these dunes are lighter in color than prairie counterparts. By studying the survival of such dune mice in large outside enclosures, Barrett has in real time tracked genetic variants favored by evolution, including expected ones in a pigmentation gene and other less-understood DNA changes.