By Steve Olson, The National Academies
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Extra info for Evolution in Hawaii: A Supplement to Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science
In this exercise, students gain familiarity with the idea of common ancestry and descent by investigating the evolutionary relationships of 18 species of drosophilid flies that live on the Hawaiian islands. Morphological and genetic data indicate that the approximately 800 species of drosophilid flies in the Hawaiian islands are descended from a single colonizing species that came to the islands millions of years ago. In studying the evolution of the Hawaiian drosophilids, biologists have focused on a group of about 100 species that can be grown in the laboratory and have large wings with distinctive black markings.
Note that in Table 2, D. setosimentum has the most inversions and D. ) Another possible extension of this investigation makes use of the data in Table 2. This table contains inversion data for 10 species of drosophilids, beginning with D. setosimentum. Five of the 10 species in Table 2 are represented in Table 1 as well, while five of the species are different. A possible task is to draw an evolutionary tree for all 10 of the species in Table 2 using the methods developed for the previous data set.
If one species has an inversion that is not present in another species then that inversion must have occurred after the two species diverged from a common ancestor. These inversions can be used to trace the evolution of many of the Hawaiian drosophilid species from common ancestral species. In Hawaii, populations of flies have speciated as they have adapted to new kinds of habitats or have acquired different mating behaviors. Speciation also has often followed founder events, when a single fertilized fly or several flies either traveled or were transported from one island to another island or between habitable but geographically isolated portions of the same island.