Wanted – examples of "everyday" evolution

A colleague is working on an article on examples of rapid evolution in the context of our “everyday” lives (i.e., things people see/encounter frequently).  What is needed are good examples, with citations, of recent rapid evolution.

Some candidate examples include

Obviously, many will be of “resistance” evolution (e.g., antibiotics, toxins) or host-pathogen interactions in some way.  Other examples of these would be great.  But even better would be some other recent examples of things like the peppered moth story.  Thanks

Author: Jonathan Eisen

I am an evolutionary biologist and a Professor at U. C. Davis. (see my lab site here). My research focuses on the origin of novelty (how new processes and functions originate). To study this I focus on sequencing and analyzing genomes of organisms, especially microbes and using phylogenomic analysis

14 thoughts on “Wanted – examples of "everyday" evolution”

  1. Drug resistance in helminths (primarily those helminths that infect livestock and horses).

    Here is a review of the subject: Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases
    Issue: Volume 16(6), December 2003, pp 559-564
    Copyright: © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
    Publication Type: [Antimicrobial agents: parasitic/viral]
    ISSN: 0951-7375
    Accession: 00001432-200312000-00008

    here but behind paywall.


  2. I discuss stickleback evolution with my sophomore Genetics class, but fish morphology might not be all that sexy.

    1. Barrett RDH, Rogers SM, Schluter D. Natural selection on a major armor gene in threespine stickleback. Science 2008 Oct.;322(5899):255–257.


  3. I use the evolution of blood groups in humans as my example in class.

    Many native American populations are homozygous for the O-type allele. They clearly evolved from an ancestral population in which all three alleles (A,B,O) were segregating. This must have taken place in the past 18,000 years.

    It's a nice example because it illustrates evolution within a population, not a species.

    It's also an example of evolution by random genetic drfit, not natural selecction. This is important since, as we all know, random genetic drift is the most common mechanism of evolution. It's a good idea to teach that as early as possible.


  4. More from Facebook:

    Invasive genotype of Phragmites spreading all through North Eastern salt marshes. (And hybrid cord grasses spreading invasively throughout California.)

    Also, 'domestication' and fitness reductions in wild populations of many Pacific salmon because of hatchery supplementation.

    Fred Gould (and colleagues) work is great, especially the Bt-maize resistance evolution, and, the genetic pest management group he's been developing. Palumbi had a popular book out a while back, Evolution Explosion.


    Habsburgs and any type of in-breeding

    flu virus


  5. Another cancer evolution example from a colleague:

    Sci Transl Med. 2011 Jul 6;3(90):90ra59.
    Optimization of dosing for EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer with evolutionary cancer modeling.
    Chmielecki J, Foo J, Oxnard GR, Hutchinson K, Ohashi K, Somwar R, Wang L, Amato KR, Arcila M, Sos ML, Socci ND, Viale A, de Stanchina E, Ginsberg MS, Thomas RK, Kris MG, Inoue A, Ladanyi M, Miller VA, Michor F, Pao W.


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