Convergent evolution in pigmentation

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Short article in Conservation and Convergence of Colour Genetics: MC1R Mutations in brown Cavefish:

One of the most striking observations in nature is when similar phenotypes appear independently, such as wings in birds and bats, or melanism in moths and mice. These examples of so-called convergent evolution naturally lead us to ponder the question of genetic repeatability, i.e., the extent to which similar phenotypes that evolved in parallel share the same genetic mechanisms. Cave-dwelling organisms provide an attractive system for studying genetic repeatability, since populations in geographically isolated caves often undergo striking convergent evolution in response to the drastically altered environment, with reduced pigmentation and vision being particularly common phenotypes.



  1. Homoplasy is one of my favorite concepts in the field of genetics. Thanks for the link. 
    I just recently stumbled across your blog and have enjoyed mining the archives for all manner of debate and thought-provoking data. One thing I have been unable to find, however, is any information about the educational backgrounds of the blogs main authors. Are there individual author pages or an FAQ with that information? I guess, more specifically, can your share your formal educational background? Did you study, or are currently studying, biology, genetics, or a related field at an undergraduate or graduate level?

  2. Speaking of genetic repeatability, check out Vavilov’s law of homologous series:

  3. Bat wings and bird wings don’t strike me as convergence. They’re functionally similar but structurally very, very different. They seem more like divergence — bat’s wings will nevr become the same as birds’ wings, because of path-dependence.