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Posted Wed Jul 8 2009: from Nature:
Adapt and die?
The ability to adapt to a new environment may not always be beneficial for long-term success -- in flour beetles at least. Beetles that were offered and ate a novel food, even with their ancestral food all around them, suffered over multiple generations, according to a study presented last month at the Evolution 2009 meetings in Moscow, Idaho. The work provides some of the first empirical data for whether behavioural plasticity -- the ability to adapt immediately to changing environments -- helps or hinders the evolutionary success of organisms. "We saw that these beetles have a massive degree of behavioural plasticity, but that their evolutionary success was hindered due to their adaptability," says Deepa Agashe, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University...
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