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Evo in the news

Genetic engineering vs. evolution - April, 2014
In the late 1990s, a new weapon in the fight against agricultural pests was introduced: Bt corn. The new maize variety was genetically engineered to carry genes from the bacterium Bacillus thurinigiensis (hence the moniker "Bt") that cause the crop to produce an all-natural pesticide. This meant that growers could get good yields from their cornfields without spraying on so many toxins. Since then, many farmers have jumped on this bandwagon. In 2012, more than 69 million hectares were planted with Bt crops — an area about the size of Texas! There has been much debate over the risks of this technological advance, but now it appears that the downfall of Bt corn might be the very problem that it was supposed to solve in the first place: agricultural pests, in particular the western corn rootworm. These beetle larvae eat the roots of corn plants potentially ruining the crop. In recent years, more and more larvae that are resistant to the effects of the Bt toxin have been showing up in fields and chewing their way into plants. How and why did this happen? It all comes down to evolution.

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Highlights

Kim Bostwick How boogieing birds evolved: The work of Kim Bostwick
When ornithologist Kim Bostwick goes hunting with her binoculars, she's not just looking for birds; she's looking for untold evolutionary stories.
Jackson Njau CSI: Olduvai Gorge. The work of Jackson Njau
Follow paleoanthropologist Jackson Njau as he examines fossil evidence for clues of crocodile predation on early hominids.
Evo Connection Evo Connection slide sets
This series of short slide sets explain several basic biology topics in evolutionary terms. Each set includes notes to help you present every slide.
A fisheye view of the tree of life A fisheye view of the tree of life
Explore our interactive fish evolutionary tree to learn about amazing innovations that have evolved in the different lineages.

 

This site was created by the University of California Museum of Paleontology with support provided by the National Science Foundation (grant no. 0096613) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (grant no. 51003439).