News & AnalysisEvolution

Cavefish Study Supports Controversial Evolutionary Mechanism

Science  13 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6164, pp. 1304
DOI: 10.1126/science.342.6164.1304

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


This article has a correction. Please see:

Summary

Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has moved into caves a half dozen times, lost its eyes and its skin color when it moved underground. A research team has found that a molecule called heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) masks variation in genes for eye size and that the low salt content of the subterranean water diverts HPS90 from this purpose. The resulting genetic variation provides a rich template upon which natural selection can act. The work presents the first example of an adaptive function of HSP90 as an evolutionary capacitor in a natural setting.