Environmental genetic mutations

  • Thread starter dsaun777
  • Start date
I always had this question which I never understood about biological evolution. Do species undergo some genetic mutation and then travel to certain areas where they are best suited for or do species migrate and then adapt as they travel? Or some combination of both? What is the link between environment and genetic mutations?
 

BillTre

Science Advisor
Gold Member
2018 Award
1,099
1,790
Individuals of a species can either get new mutations in an area and stay there or then move to a new place.
In either case, their new mutations could be good, bad, or indifferent to their survival.

In some extreme cases were there is an obviously new and better way of doing things (like animals breathing air) individuals carrying that mutation might seek out places (out of the water when a large predator approaches) where they could take advantage of their trait.

Undergoing a long (and apparently new) migration to take advantage of some new feature would require knowledge by the animal of its environment, beyond which is reasonably expected (knowledge of where to go when you have not been there before) of the animal's environmental awareness.

Genetics of a population (meaning its evolution, resulting in changing abilities, such as photosynthesis) can change the environment (oxygenation of the atmosphere is a good example).
Alternatively, environmental changes can affect a populations evolution by selecting for genes better suited to the new environment.
It is also possible for changing environments to result in migrations of populations to places more like their former environment.
This would be like a species in a warming climate zone.
It could move a short distance and increase its altitude to get to cooler temperatures.
Small positional changes in distance are much more likely than longer ones, but some species's can move farther than others.

In most cases, the mutation rate and kinds of mutations could be assumed to be unchanged.
The different results, in different environments, can be attributed to different selection pressures on the population's genetics.
 
Last edited:

berkeman

Mentor
55,310
5,499
Do species undergo some genetic mutation and then travel to certain areas where they are best suited for or do species migrate and then adapt as they travel?
Here is an example of the environment changing for an existing population, and how they evolved to adapt to the changed conditions. Those that did not have the mutation got eaten...

 
Here is an example of the environment changing for an existing population, and how they evolved to adapt to the changed conditions. Those that did not have the mutation got eaten...

"those that did not have the mutation got eaten..." sounds so ominous lol. I love seeing instances of evolution undergoing such rapid fluxes so much so that we can directly observe it. Although I hate seeing humans directly influence these genetic changes, even though we ourselves are a product of nature and any change we cause is implicitly done by nature...or not if you think humans are something a bit different :oldconfused:
 
Individuals of a species can either get new mutations in an area and stay there or then move to a new place.
In either case, their new mutations could be good, bad, or indifferent to their survival.

In some extreme cases were there is an obviously new and better way of doing things (like animals breathing air) individuals carrying that mutation might seek out places (out of the water when a large predator approaches) where they could take advantage of their trait.

Undergoing a long (and apparently new) migration to take advantage of some new feature would require knowledge by the animal of its environment, beyond which is reasonably expected (knowledge of where to go when you have not been there before) of the animal's environmental awareness.

Genetics of a population (meaning its evolution, resulting in changing abilities, such as photosynthesis) can change the environment (oxygenation of the atmosphere is a good example).
Alternatively, environmental changes can affect a populations evolution by selecting for genes better suited to the new environment.
It is also possible for changing environments to result in migrations of populations to places more like their former environment.
This would be like a species in a warming climate zone.
It could move a short distance and increase its altitude to get to cooler temperatures.
Small positional changes in distance are much more likely than longer ones, but some species's can move farther than others.

In most cases, the mutation rate and kinds of mutations could be assumed to be unchanged.
The different results, in different environments, can be attributed to different selection pressures on the population's genetics.
Thank you for the response. With that clarified, I would like to just get your opinion on what the driving force of life is if you would choose one single motivating factor. Given certain options like mating, eating, or just surviving by avoiding getting eaten. I heard of species of animals that will mate until they die of exhaustion essentially. You could argue mating because you that is the ultimate perpetuation of yourself into a different generation but not sure. any opinions welcomed.
 

BillTre

Science Advisor
Gold Member
2018 Award
1,099
1,790
what the driving force of life is if you would choose one single motivating factor
I would say reproduction is the obvious driver for evolutionary change.
There can be different things, driving specific behaviors that animals might have, depending on the physiological mechanisms their bodies have, to achieve their evolutionarially desirable ends.
 

pinball1970

Gold Member
507
428
"I love seeing instances of evolution undergoing such rapid fluxes so much so that we can directly observe it.
I have posted this link a few times now, quite rapid significant changes to a population of lizards in 36 years.
 
1,308
677
Do species undergo some genetic mutation and then travel to certain areas where they are best suited for or do species migrate and then adapt as they travel?
In this regard the effect of (new) mutations is often overestimated/misunderstood. You said 'species': this means a population, a whole pool of genes. When the environment changes for a population it is more likely to have a shift of the distribution of existing mutations/variations than getting new mutations present. So, you can say that the population already have a set of genes which allows it to adapt to a new environment with having the less lucky individuals eliminated from the gene pool.
Also, it is not always migration or change in environment: it can be just expansion. As the population expands, new areas with possibly different environment will be conquered. The part of the original population which lives there will have a slightly different distribution of the original genes => at long term this can lead to a split in the original species as new mutations appears.
The accumulation of useful (but at least: neutral) mutations in the gene pool is a long term process. Adaptation to new environment through selection of a gene pool might be done in a span of few generation.

Ps.: prerequisite is, that you need a healthy gene pool with lot of variations. It just wont' work well if the pool is so shallow that no selection is effective, like already domesticated/standardized species.
 

Want to reply to this thread?

"Environmental genetic mutations" You must log in or register to reply here.

Related Threads for: Environmental genetic mutations

  • Posted
Replies
6
Views
34K
  • Posted
Replies
2
Views
1K
Replies
18
Views
8K
Replies
8
Views
1K
Replies
5
Views
2K

Physics Forums Values

We Value Quality
• Topics based on mainstream science
• Proper English grammar and spelling
We Value Civility
• Positive and compassionate attitudes
• Patience while debating
We Value Productivity
• Disciplined to remain on-topic
• Recognition of own weaknesses
• Solo and co-op problem solving

Hot Threads

Top