Feb 17, 2016
Article by Rikkyo research fellow published in Current Biology
In its December 21, 2015 issue, U.S. scientific journal Current Biology by Keita Tanaka, a specific project research fellow at Rikkyo University's College of Science, and his research team, on the unprecedented discovery of "polymorphism in chick skin coloration" in a cuckoo-host system in New Caledonia.
Some host parents lay eggs that differ widely in appearance, even within the same species (egg polymorphism). Research has shown that polymorphism observed in the eggs of host birds is a result of evolutionary changes in egg appearance to help parents combat avian brood parasites. Tanaka and his colleagues argue that the chick polymorphism they found in the host evolved to escape the cuckoo’s mimicry, which in turn led to imitative polymorphism in cuckoo chicks, too. However, the authors imply that the difference in gene-expression pattern between eggs and chicks could have ignited a further coevolutionary arms race, which is unique in the one at the chick stage.
Jul 25, 2018