Evolution Of The Cave Fish Essay

Evolution Of The Cave Fish Essay

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The cave fish is a curious object of study. One of which has many scientist rushing to discover exactly why this fish developed that cannot see. The cave fish live in dark caves and have evolved to life without vision.
Both Lamarck and Darwin had excellent theories about evolution. Darwin believed that natural selection had the biggest impact on the evolution of a species. Darwin theorized each population had variations, these variations caused the individual to either have a greater or lesser chance of survival. The individual that had the disadvantaged genes would be less likely to live or reproduce and therefore be killed off by predators, or lack offspring. Those that had characteristics more suited for the environment were more likely to live and mate, therefore passing their genes onto the next generation.
Lamarck however held the belief that if you don’t use it you lose it, or more commonly called use and disuse theory. The idea that the characteristics used most by the species will grow stronger and these strengths will be passed on to successive generations. Those traits that were used less would get progressively less pronounced, eventually disappearing completely if they are not needed. But Lamarck also held the idea of acquired characteristics. The evolution of giraffes is a common example of this theory. Lamarck theorized at one time all giraffes had the same length neck, but struggled to reach food from the tops of trees. He hypothesized that the giraffe stretched its neck so much during its life time that the neck eventually grew longer and these longer neck genes were passed onto its offspring. Therefor even if an individual is not born with a characteristic if the individual develops a characteristic during its...


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... in the cave fish. It is evident a change in the pleiotropic gene responsible for the eye size and the size of taste buds has been responsible for the shrinkage of the eye and the enhancement of the olfactory senses.
Studying the eye loss in cave fish has many benefits to humans. Many humans are born with degenerative eye diseases. The genes responsible for the loss of eyes in the cave fish could be linked to the genes that cause eye diseases in humans. Further study may lead to a better understanding and therefore better treatment of human eye diseases.
The cave fish has and interesting trade off of characteristics. Losing sight in an environment with little to no light is a give and take of survivalist proportions. The loss of sight has helped this species of fish gain a more targeted area of expertise. If the fish cannot see its food it might as well smell it.

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