|Medium Ground Finch, John Gould / PD|
Authentic speciation is a process whereby organisms diversify within the boundaries of their gene pools, and this can result in variants with specific ecological adaptability. While it was once thought that this process was strictly facilitated by DNA sequence variability, Darwin's classic example of speciation in finches now includes a surprisingly strong epigenetic component as well.To finish reading, dip your beak into "Darwin's Finches: Answers From Epigenetics".
Epigenetic changes involve the addition of chemical tags in an organism's genome without actually changing the genetic code. Both the DNA nucleotides and the proteins that DNA is wrapped around (called histones) can be chemically tagged by different types of controlling molecules that determine how genes are turned on and off. Thus, the epigenetic regulation of the genome can produce differences in traits without actually being related to changes in the DNA sequence itself. What's even more amazing is that these changes can be inherited over multiple generations. Thus, epigenetic changes unexpectedly facilitate variability and speciation within created kinds.