**Please note this thread is in the Coffee Klatch forum**
There are a variety of posts regularly at Beesource about honey bee genetics and possible changes. This article is not about bees, but may be of interest anyway.
A population of finches on the Galapagos has been discovered in the process of becoming a new species.
Researchers followed the entire population of finches on a tiny Galapagos island called Daphne Major, for many years, and so they were able to watch the speciation in progress. The group of finch species to which the Big Bird population belongs are collectively known as Darwin's finches and helped Charles Darwin to uncover the process of evolution by natural selection.
In 1981, the researchers noticed the arrival of a male of a non-native species, the large cactus finch. Professors Rosemary and Peter Grant noticed that this male proceeded to mate with a female of one of the local species, a medium ground finch, producing fertile young. Almost 40 years later, the progeny of that original mating are still being observed, and number around 30 individuals.
"It's an extreme case of something we're coming to realise more generally over the years. Evolution in general can happen very quickly," said Prof Roger Butlin, a speciation expert who wasn't involved in the study.
Read the rest here:
The full article version is available at Science here: http://science.sciencemag.org/conten...cience.aao4593
The full Science version is behind a paywall for me, but there are a variety of options for avoiding fees for this specific article. YMMVAbstract
Homoploid hybrid speciation in animals has been inferred frequently from patterns of variation, but few examples have withstood critical scrutiny. Here we report a directly documented example from its origin to reproductive isolation. An immigrant Darwin’s finch to Daphne Major in the Galápagos archipelago initiated a new genetic lineage by breeding with a resident finch (Geospiza fortis). Genome sequencing of the immigrant identified it as a G. conirostris male that originated on Española >100km from Daphne. From the second generation onwards the lineage bred endogamously, and despite intense inbreeding, was ecologically successful and showed transgressive segregation of bill morphology. This example shows that reproductive isolation, which typically develops over hundreds of generations, can be established in only three.