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Open Access Commentary

Trade-offs in cavefish sensory capacity

Helen Gunter12* and Axel Meyer1

Author affiliations

1 Lehrstuhl für Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, 78457 Konstanz, Germany

2 Zukunftskolleg, University of Konstanz, Universitätsstrasse 10, 78457 Konstanz, Germany

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Citation and License

BMC Biology 2013, 11:5  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-11-5

Published: 24 January 2013

Abstract

In caves one repeatedly finds strikingly convergent patterns of evolution in diverse sets of organisms involving 'regressive' traits such as the loss of eyes and pigmentation. Ongoing debate centers around whether these regressive traits arise as the result of neutral evolutionary processes, or rather by natural selection of 'constructive' traits that arise at the expense of eyes and pigmentation. Recent research on cavefish points to the latter, suggesting that the 'constructive' trait vibrational attractive behavior and the reduction of eye size may share a common genetic basis.

See research article http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7007/10/108 webcite