'Mounting evidence suggests humans are now a major driving force of evolution
From selective breeding to environmental modifications, we're altering so much
of our world that we're not only now driving the climate, but the direction of
In a massive project involving 287 scientists across 160 cities in 26
countries, researchers examined how urbanization has influenced evolution on a
Their study, published last year, used white clover (Trifolium repens
) as a
model – a plant native to Europe and west Asia, but found in cities all around
"There has never been a field study of evolution of this scale, or a global
study of how urbanization influences evolution," said evolutionary biologist
Marc Johnson from the University of Toronto Mississauga (UTM).
Collecting more than 110,000 samples along gradients that extended from the
cities, through suburbs and out to the country, they found that clover in
cities is now more similar to clover in another city a world away than it is to
that found in nearby farmland or forests, regardless of climate.
This is an example of parallel adaptive evolution – when separate populations
are shaped by the same selective pressure for specific traits in different
locations. It shows that the ways humans have changed the environment are
having a bigger influence in shaping these traits than natural phenomena like
local population genetics and climate.'
Via Rixty Dixet.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics