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Evolution of Albinism in Cave Adapted Animals

Principal investigator

Project type
Znanstveno-istraživački projekti
The New International Fellowship Mobility Programme for Experienced Researchers in Croatia
Ministry of Science, Education and Youth of the Republic of Croatia
Start date
Dec 1st 2014
End date
Nov 30th 2017
Total cost
25999 EUR
More information

Little is known about the mechanisms underlying the evolution of novelphenotypes and convergence.Albinism, a relativelysimple trait and aprime example of convergence, offers an outstanding opportunity tostudy both of these phenomena. Thisproposal addresses the evolution of albinism in a series of melanin pigmented species from diversephyla. For the first time, this proposal will also investigatedepigmentation in animals with dark pigments other than melanin:planaria. The combined analysis of loss of melanin and non-melaninpigmentation will provide a broad understanding about thedevelopmental and molecular trajectories underpinning the repeatedoccurrence of albinism in nature. The forces driving regression ofphenotypes have been puzzling scientists since the time of Darwin. Mypreliminary results suggest that the widespread occurrence of albinismis a result of natural selection acting on the benefits of pigmentregression for the survival of animals in dark cave.

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