February 11, 2013
Birds Evolved Ultraviolet Vision Several Times
Ultraviolet vision evolved at least eight times in birds from a common violet sensitive ancestor finds a study published in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology. All of these are due to single nucleotide changes in the DNA.
Modern daytime birds either have violet sensitive or ultraviolet sensitive vision. Being ultraviolet sensitive alters visual cues used to select a mate, avoiding predators, and in finding food. Researchers from Uppsala University and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences sequenced the genes responsible for producing the light sensitive pigment (SWS1 opsin) from 40 species of birds, in 29 families.
Anders Ãdeen and Olle HÃ¥stad, who performed this research commented, "There are two different amino acid alterations that can each change bird color vision from violet to ultraviolet. One particular single nucleotide change has occurred at least 11 separate times. In general during evolution once a color shift has occurred all species from this ancestor keep it meaning that the rest of the eye and physiology, must also evolved to 'cement' in the new color sensitivity."
On the Net: