Ecology & Evolution

Our climate is changing, and while most researchers in this field focus on how to stop and reverse the warming process, others are curious as to how humans and life on our planet will adapt. Plants and animals have a broad range of ways to deal with these emerging challenges and stresses (i.e. extreme weather patterns and excessive heat). Many species of plants have ways to deal with these pressures that are hard written into their genomes and animals have been observed changing their behaviors to cope with the warmer climate. But some scientists also believe the increasing heat can induce epigenetic modifications that can lead to changes in gene activity that help various organisms survive on this warming planet. A lot of the evidence this is happening is from lab animals exposed to artificially altered climates, but some wildlife like coral and wild guinea pigs have provided evidence that epigenetics and gene activity are being modified in response to climate change. If true, this could provide a critical strategy for helping preserve the biodiversity that is declining in response to climate change.

Understanding Epigenetics:
Ecology & Evolution
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Epigenetics and Evolution
Sedeer el-Showk | Scitable