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Climate change drives genetic changes

Rising temperatures cause worldwide genetic changes in Drosophila subobscura

Charles Q. Choi
Global warming is driving worldwide genetic changes in a fly species, scientists reported online August 31 in Science.These findings reinforce recent studies suggesting that climate change is rapidly leading to genetic impacts "in widespread organisms," Ary Hoffmann at the University of Melbourne in Australia, who did not participate in this study, told The Scientist.Raymond Huey at the University of Washington in Seattle, along with his colleagues in Spain and Virginia, analyzed Drosophila subobscura, a fruit fly native to Europe. The species was accidentally introduced to Chile in the 1970s and the West Coast of the United States in the 1980s, probably via cargo ships.The researchers investigated chromosomal inversions, where chromosomal segments flip themselves backward. The first chromosomal inversion samples in D. subobscura were collected in Europe more than 40 years ago. After the fly spread to other continents, geneticists began sampling chromosomal inversion data in South...

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