Study of Stick Insects in North America Uncovers Large Mutations

It would appear that a number of traits that, together, determine the final appearance of an organism, including factors such as its color, are in fact determined by a number of different genes and also the environment in which the creature lives its life. Both humans and animals of the domestic sort, just as an example, have skin of varied color, have fur and even hair, as well as height that varies wildly, all of them being an example of genetic variation of the continuous kind.

Groundbreaking Results

This information was made public by Zach Gompert, a genetic ecologist affiliated with the Utah State University. He continued by stating the fact that, at least in the wild, the different types of genetic mutations are all having a very strong impact on the ability of the organism to adapt to its own environment, so they are only now starting to be understood by the members of the scientific community. It would appear that there are some traits that exhibit discontinuous or even discrete variations, based on a number of factors which the researchers have not been able to get to the bottom of.

Academic Collaboration

On 23 July, a paper was published in the academic journal Science. In that very paper, Gompert, together with some colleagues that are affiliated with the University of Sheffield, located in the United Kingdom, together with colleagues form the Paul Valery University of Montpellier and the University of Bern, located in Switzerland, even the Swiss Federal Institute for Aquatic Science and Technology, are discussing their results after they have investigated seven separate species of stick insects originating in North America.


The results mention the fact that most research from the genetic point of view is focused on individual genes and minuscule mutations. Their paper, however, looks into the greater roles that large mutations play, together with structural rearrangements of the genes that they are studying.