Project 1198: J. W. Doudna, B. J. Danielson. 2015. Rapid Morphological Change in the Masticatory Structures of an Important Ecosystem Service Provider. PLOS ONE. 10 (6):e0127218.
Specimen: Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii (unvouchered)
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Abstract

Humans have altered the biotic and abiotic environmental conditions of most organisms. In some cases, such as intensive agriculture, an organism’s entire ecosystem is converted to novel conditions. Thus, it is striking that some species continue to thrive under such conditions. The prairie deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii) is an example of such an organism, and so we sought to understand what role evolutionary adaptation played in the success of this species, with particular interest in adaptations to novel foods. In order to understand the evolutionary history of this species’ masticatory structures, we examined the maxilla, zygomatic plate, and mandible of historic specimens collected prior to 1910 to specimens collected after 2010. We found that mandibles, zygomatic plates, and maxilla have all changed significantly since 1910 (p<0.01), and that morphological development has shifted (intercepts: upper jaw: - 0.23 vs. -0.50, p = 0.048; lower jaw: -0.28 vs. -0.39, p < 0.001). We present compelling evidence that these differences are due to natural selection as a response to a novel and ubiquitous food source, waste grain (corn, Zea mays and soybean, Glycine max).


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Article DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127218

Project DOI: 10.7934/P1198, http://dx.doi.org/10.7934/P1198
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  • 1 Specimen
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    John Doudna
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    Last logged in 09/08/14
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