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Illustration from the epigenetics and the genome infographic
Infographic: How Epigenetic Marks Can Change the Genome
Although epigenetic changes were long thought to largely act on the genome, rather than as part of it, research is now showing that these patterns can, directly or indirectly, change the genetic code.
Infographic: How Epigenetic Marks Can Change the Genome
Infographic: How Epigenetic Marks Can Change the Genome

Although epigenetic changes were long thought to largely act on the genome, rather than as part of it, research is now showing that these patterns can, directly or indirectly, change the genetic code.

Although epigenetic changes were long thought to largely act on the genome, rather than as part of it, research is now showing that these patterns can, directly or indirectly, change the genetic code.

natural selection
Cellular DNA and epigenetics
Do Epigenetic Changes Influence Evolution?
Katarina Zimmer | Nov 1, 2022 | 10+ min read
Evidence is mounting that epigenetic marks on DNA can influence future generations in a variety of ways. But how such phenomena might affect large-scale evolutionary processes is hotly debated.
Illustration of people dying from the Black Death
Genes that Aided Black Death Survival Linked to Autoimmunity
Jef Akst | Oct 20, 2022 | 2 min read
A new study points to repercussions of the Medieval pandemic for the health of modern humans.
a black wolf and a gray wolf follow a third gray wolf, whose head is tilted back to watch, as they trot through a snowy background, with light colored, barren trees in the background.
Black and Gray Wolf Pairings Stem Disease, Stabilize Population: Study
Katherine Irving | Oct 20, 2022 | 4 min read
The black fur allele has fitness costs but also confers higher immunity against canine distemper virus, making mix-and-match mating key to population survival.
Drosophila melanogaster on cactus leaf
Fruit Flies Evolve in Time with the Seasons: Study
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 17, 2022 | 5 min read
Researchers find that evolution can operate on extraordinarily fast timescales.
close-up of a salmon's head swimming among underwater plants
Sudden Decline in Salmon Growth May Signal Ecological Shift
Natalia Mesa, PhD | Mar 4, 2022 | 5 min read
The decrease in growth appears to be associated with increasing water temperatures, affecting animals throughout the marine food web.
Human DNA abstract dotwork vector illustration made of cloud of colored dots.
Adapting with a Little Help from Jumping Genes
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jan 17, 2022 | 10+ min read
Long lambasted as junk DNA or genomic parasites, transposable elements turn out to be contributors to adaptation.
Organisms from infographic about transposable elements
Infographic: How Transposable Elements Can Shape Evolution
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jan 17, 2022 | 2 min read
The movements of so-called jumping genes can generate the genetic diversity needed to drive evolutionary change in populations over time.  
Cranes in flight
Why Migratory Birds Often Have Paler Wings Than Other Birds
Amanda Heidt | Dec 7, 2021 | 2 min read
A new study suggests that lighter colors may help these species stay cool on their long journeys, when birds are pushing themselves to their physiological limits.
Illustration of humans and mice and their gut microbiota
Infographic: Microbiome-Driven Adaptations in Animals
Catherine Offord | Jul 1, 2021 | 2 min read
Researchers are using experiments and observational studies to look for host genetic variation that could be partly determined by the gut microbiota.
An illustration of green bacteria floating above neutral-colored intestinal villi
The Inside Guide: The Gut Microbiome’s Role in Host Evolution
Catherine Offord | Jul 1, 2021 | 10+ min read
Bacteria that live in the digestive tracts of animals may influence the adaptive trajectories of their hosts.
A tasmanian devil with its nose in the air
Deadly Facial Tumors Spur Tasmanian Devil Evolution: Study
Christie Wilcox, PhD | Jun 16, 2021 | 6 min read
The largest study to date of the animals’ genetics provides robust evidence that they are adapting to survive a highly lethal, contagious cancer scientists feared would cause their extinction.
Hybrid Animals Are Not Nature’s Misfits
Ashley Yeager | May 1, 2021 | 8 min read
In the 20th century, animals such as mules and ligers that had parents of different species were considered biological flukes, but genetic sequencing is beginning to unravel the critical role of hybridization in evolution.
Image of the Day: Plumage Patterns
Amy Schleunes | Mar 23, 2020 | 1 min read
An island songbird evolved into five populations of different color variants despite inhabiting territories just 10 kilometers apart.
critic at large march 2019 the scientist
Opinion: Individuals Are Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts
Itzhak Mizrahi and Fotini Kokou | Mar 1, 2019 | 2 min read
The study of evolution requires consideration of organisms’ microbiomes.
Neanderthal Ancestry in Europeans Unchanged for Last 45,000 Years
Diana Kwon | Jan 23, 2019 | 4 min read
The findings of a new study contradict previous results from some of the same scientists that suggested Neanderthal DNA was gradually removed from modern human genomes.
Infographic: How Cities Influence Evolution
Catherine Offord | Jan 1, 2019 | 2 min read
Urban environments are driving genetic changes in resident species through multiple mechanisms, from establishing gene flow barriers to exerting novel selection pressures.
Human Birth Canal Varies More Widely than Previously Thought
Anna Azvolinsky | Oct 24, 2018 | 3 min read
The pelvic bones of women have been shaped more by random evolution than by natural selection, a new study finds.
Global Patterns of Human Epigenetic Variation
Ashley Yeager | Aug 28, 2017 | 3 min read
A study of five far-flung human populations gives clues to adaptations to environmental pressures.
Pollution Drives Marine Reptile Color Change
Bob Grant | Aug 11, 2017 | 2 min read
The turtle-headed sea snake is losing its stripes, and researchers suggest that the change reflects adaptation to fouled oceans.
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