Natural Selection in action

Evolution Albino turtle

Albino baby turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) from east Bangkok. Photo via Reuters/Chaiwat Subparasom

We’ve discussed the mechanisms by which species arise, given enough time and environmental circumstances. These mechanisms account for the means by which evolution occurs–in other words: natural selection. Would nature select for or against the albino turtle? How would this selection take place? What can be said about the trait that results in albinism?

97 thoughts on “Natural Selection in action

  1. Nature would select against the albino turtle since albinism is not a trait that will help it survive in its environment. The lack of pigmentation means that it is more likely to be spotted by a predator than the rest of the turtles and not reach reproductive age. For that reason albinism is rare and a recessive trait.

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  2. Nature would select against the albino turtle because it is not beneficial for them to survive in their environment. Since albinism is rare, the trait is recessive therefore it is not frequently passed on through offspring. The lack of pigmentation (color) makes it harder for them to adapt and survive in their environment because it makes them easier targets for their predators.
    http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/photos/7-famous-albino-animals/not-like-the-others

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  3. I agree with the previous comments, the animal would try to do things that a normal animal would do, but natural selection would act against him and he would not accomplish it. An albino animal is very visible making it easier for the predator to kill him and the albino turtles are not so good at swimming. Albinism is rare, scientists try to protect albino turtles when they are found.
    http://jomgt.blogspot.com/2012_11_01_archive.html

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    • ALbinism can result in pleiotropic events, meaning that many traits can be affected by this recessive allele. In the case of human albinism, more that just vision or melanin pigmentation can be affected:

      “Albinism is a genetic condition associated with abnormalities of the visual system. Defects in melanin production cause underdevelopment of the fovea, reduced retinal cell numbers and abnormal routing of ganglion cell nerve fibres at the optic chiasm. We examined 19 subjects with albinism and 26 control subjects to determine whether retinal abnormalities affect the structure of the visual cortex. Whole-brain, high-resolution anatomical magnetic resonance imaging volumes from each subject were obtained on a 1.5-T scanner and segmented into grey and white matter. A voxel-wise statistical comparison of grey and white matter volumes in the occipital lobes between the two groups was performed using voxel-based morphometry. Our analysis revealed a regionally specific decrease in grey matter volume at the occipital poles in albinism. The location of the decrease in grey matter corresponds to the cortical representation of the central visual field. This reduction is likely to be a direct result of decreased ganglion cell numbers in central retina in albinism.” Via: Retinal abnormalities in human albinism translate into a reduction of grey matter in the occipital cortex

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  4. Since albinism is a recessive trait, it is not that common in any type of animals. Nature would select against the albino turtle because its traits would make it harder for the turtle to protect itself from other dangers, since the color brings attention from prey, and to adapt to its surroundings. Any albino animal would have a trouble adapting to their enviroment in difference to any non albino animal. Albino turtles are rare and should be protected if scientists want them to keep existing instead people selling them as pets for kids.

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  5. I think nature would select against the albino turtle, since it has a recessive and strange trait. Many animals can pick them out as prey because of the lack of pigmentation in their skin. It is harder for them to survive and adapt to their environment because of albinism.

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  6. Albinism in that species is very rare so that turtle will have problems surviving. It will be more visible for predators and also that species may be resistant to something that the albino tutle will not thanks tonthat trait. Nature selected against her in this case.

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  7. I believe nature would select against the albino turtle, for its bright colour will make it a lot more vulnerable to be preyed upon. The other normal dark coloured turtles should have no difficulty with camouflaging, since the water in the pond looks dark due to the rocks underwater. Nature is in their favour. Albinism is a recessive and extremely rare trait that suppresses the production of melanin in the body therefore yielding the affected person with a very pale complex, it can be seen in different species as well as humans. Due to the lack of melanin in the eye, sufferers commonly have difficulty seeing clearly and need special glasses to enable them to see normally. This article elaborates a lot more relating to Albinism’s impact on vision: http://www.visionfortomorrow.org/albinisms-impact-on-vision/

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  8. Albinism makes survival difficult for the albino turtle or for any other organism that suffers from this condition. Nature would select against the albino turtle because they have no pigmentation therefore this makes them an easy prey. For this reason, albinism is considered a strange, recessive trait.

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  9. Albinism makes survival difficult for the albino turtle or for any organism that suffers from this condition. Nature would select against the albino turtle because of their inability to blend in the environment they are considered an easy prey. This condition is very rare and it occurs through the inheritance of recessive gene alleles.

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  10. Albinism makes survival difficult for the albino turtle or for any other organism that suffers from this condition. Nature would select against the albino turtle because of their inability to blend in the environment they are considered an easy prey. This condition is very rare and it occurs through the inheritance of recessive gene alleles.

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  11. I think that natural selection always ‘knows’ what it is doing. For example, it selects against the albino turtle in order for the turtle to try and adapt to this trait, evolve, and prevail to its kind. I see it as a test given to the turtle: if it adapts, it passed the natural selection’s test; if it didn’t adapt nor evolve, then it failed the test maybe leading to no more turtles in the future.

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  12. Nature would most like be against the albino turtle mainly because the turtle is not fitted for the environment it lives in. The turtle for being albino would most like not be able to first blend in with the surrounding and secondly because it is albino it doesn’t have the protection needed against the sun so must like it will get burned and die.

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  13. Since albinism is a recessive trait and makes nature go against the turtle its life span won’t be as long as the other turtles due to the physical appereance it has. Being this a characteristic that would go against the turtle since it is more visible to predators.

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    • Can you think of any other examples in which nature selects for or against a particular organism? Tip: think about organisms that we observed recently on school grounds during our last lab.

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  14. Most things in nature have pigmentation; albinism is the lack of. Natural selection would probably favor against this trait. For these turtles that live in the dark ocean or land, albinism can’t possibly be advantageous–bright colors usually attract predators. This species is already endangered, a great target for many predators and other hazards. The ability to camouflage the albino turtle does not have can save many of these organisms from these dangers. It is likely the albino turtle will die young and so, not reproduce and pass the trait to its offspring for future generations. It can be said albinism is recessive and often unhelpful and dangerous for species.

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  15. I believe nature would select against the albino turtle since albinism is a trait that takes away the organism’s pigmentation making the turtle easier to spot by predators and limiting its chances of survival. Because of this rate of survival, albino turtles usually don’t get to the point of reproduction therefore they don’t get a chance to pass on their genes making the albinism trait recessive.

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  16. Unfortunately, nature would select against the albino turtle. It would be easier for predators to perceive it. Conditions would be unfavorable for it. Due to albinism being a recessive trait, it possibly would not be passed on to the offspring. Nature has selected colored turtles as the fittest, so albinism would have taken place due to a rare mutation. This mutation is not beneficial for the turtle, putting it in constant risk.

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  17. Albinism, this rare recessive trait, is obviously selected against in any type of species, since it provides the predator an easier opportunity to distinguish the turtle in the water, aside from the normal colored turtles who camouflage themselves well in the dark pond. It is a sad fact that such beautifully colored creatures are prone to have short life-spans, unless they are taken in and cared for. In this article, we can see how nature selects for or against this species of moth, and an insect, the walking stick. It is interesting because we can see how each coloring of each species is adapted to a specific pattern of tree or bush, and it may give rise to the possibility of albino turtles surviving in lighter colored waters. http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/10/09/evolution-in-color-from-peppered-moths-to-walking-sticks/

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  18. Albino animals, sadly, are known to be more vulnerable than the others. Since they cannot cope with their environment, they are an easy prey. Nevertheless, if they were the predator, albino animals would not be able to hunt easily because they would be spotted by the prey.These animals are usually outcast by the other animals for being different, therefore, it is very difficult for them to find a mate to reproduce. In this case, the survival rate of albino animals is very low, which is why albinism is a very rare and difficult condition to live with.
    Source: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/interesting-facts-about-albino-animals.html

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  19. I find this lack of pigmentation in this turtle to be beautiful and unique, but the truth of the matter is that this turtle’s albinisim is working against it, because of the fact that its bright color will attract predators. So in conclusion, albinism is not advantageous in any way for sea turtles.

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  20. Every species in the world has certain mutations, but as previously stated in basically all the comments before , albinism wouldn’t be nature’s first choice. Even though an animal, such as an albino one, that is basically just like the rest has great disadvantages against each other, the fact that there are albinos still out there must mean that they are strong.
    just in case you were wondering how certain animals look like when they are albino here is a link to a page which has various photos and facts of albino animals.

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  21. Albinism is a rare and recessive trait caused by a lack of pigmentation in organisms. Although the albino turtle in the picture above is unique and somewhat beautiful, it has many disadvantages that the other, dark colored, turtles don’t. Albino organisms suffer from many problems, like lack of sight. Also because of its bright color it makes it an easier target for its predators. Since the trait does not benefit the turtle, nature would select against it, meaning that the turtle most probably will die before it gets a change to pass the trait to any future generation. The link below shows some pictures of various albino animals: http://www.boredpanda.com/albino-animals/

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  22. Sea turtles can live to surprisingly long ages, but they suffer from high mortality when they’re young and albino. Albinism is infrequent since its a recessive trait however most albinos are vulnerable due to their bright white color which atrracts predators! The lack of pigmentation can, however, affect the vision of albino animals, making it hard for them to find food and avoid danger. Here’s a link that explains all about albinism!
    http://mdc.mo.gov/conmag/2005/06/all-about-albinism

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  23. We’ve seen in class that nature is almost perfect even in microscopic sclaes but sometimes nature does have its flaws. Nature would select against the albino turtle because it is mucho easier to spot for predators and possibly having a short life span without the chance to reproduce

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  24. Although nature is almost perfect, it has its flaws. Nature would select against the albino predators because for its predators it would be easy to spot and will surely be killed before it has the chamce to reproduce.

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  25. Albinism is a rare genetic disorder where pigmentation is virtually non existent in an organism. The trait is expressed in individuals by their white appearance, having no pigmentation present in their cells to exhibit the organisms natural colors. For example, humans beings are more likely to be of a light brown skin while an albino human would be white, along with white hair and everything because of his or her disability to create pigmentation to have color. In the case of the albino turtle, it is extremely disadvantageous compared to the other turtles because the color of its skin would cause it to be spotted easier by predators thus making the turtle a much easier prey and greatly reducing its chances of reaching sexual maturity in order to reproduce successfully.

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  26. Against; the trait that results in albinism is recessive, and the turtles are already endangered, which makes this one extremely rare and likely to disappear soon. Also, the white color makes it stand out and be extremely visible for predators,, making it extremely inconvenient.

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  27. Although it is likely that in its current environment albinism will not suit the turtle and nature will choose against it; there could be a hypothetical shift in its environment where the recessive trait would suddenly benefit the turtle, as previously seen with the black pepper moths. In light of the industrial revolution, there was a change in the environment which led to the black recessive phenotype to benefit the pepper moth, ensuring the survival of the species. However this scenario might be unlikely for albinism due to its negative connotations on health (albinism can affect an animal’s eye sight).

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    • Human intervention can shift adaptive radiation that favors recessive traits. We are not yet sure of how much anthropogenic events can harm the oceans—we do know that plastics are everywhere. So, it is safe to say that what we saw in the example of moths can be applied to anything that has genes.

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  28. Albinism decreases the survival rate and thus, makes albino animals struggle for survival. Due to their prominent color as white, an albino can easily become a prey to its hunter, but if the albino itself is the hunter, chances are very rare that he will be able to hunt easily since its bright color makes the prey spot it easily. Due to this, many albino animals die of starvation or as a prey.

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  29. Nature would select against the albino because its white exterior would make him stand out from the other turtles, attracting potential predators. It would select those with a normal phenotype, making albino turtles more vulnerable to their surroundings. This proves albinism to be a dangerous trait.

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  30. Although sometimes beautiful, albino animals face a massive threat when it comes to survival. Albinism is a recessive trait which nature selects against because of how it affects the animal’s ability to survive and reproduce. Because of the lack of pigment, they are unable to blend in with their environment, making them more vulnerable to predators. Also because of their unusual exterior, they’re less likely to find a mate to have offspring with thus rendering them unable to pass the gene on. Aside from all this they can also suffer from poor vision and skin sensitivity. Usually albino turtles die before being able to reproduce because of their inability to catch prey or because they’re preyed upon, causing them to have a shorter life expectancy than most animals.

    Here’s a link that includes more albino animals:
    http://www.unbelievable-facts.com/2014/11/15-rare-and-unique-albino-animals.html

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  31. Albinism is a recessive trait found in many animals, even in plants. These plants and animals do not have the gene for normal coloration and do not produce the enzyme responsible for skin, hair and tissue coloration. We can rarely spot organisms with this condition due to the fact that nature selects AGAINST them; they are unlike to survive because the pigmentation that protected them from the sun is missing, or in other cases they can’t camouflage and are an easy prey.

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  32. Albinism is one of the many recessive traits, caused by a mutation in one of the genes that codifies for pigmentation (melanin in the case of humans). This mutation is rare, since it is hard for organisms with this mutation to survive. This is because albinism may cause sensitivity in eyes, skin and in many organisms the pale color makes them vulnerable to predators.

    Here is some information in more detail of what is albinism.

    http://www.healthline.com/health/albinism

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  33. Albinism is very rare in turtles, and it can be classified as a recessive trait. Natural selection defines evolution where the fittest survive. This survival depends on the traits the animal has. Nature would select against the trait of albinism. This would be due to its role, because of this trait, where it is not fit to survive. Most of the albino turtles are most likely to be spotted by predators, therefore not get the chance to live, making this an example of survival of the fittest, natural selection.

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  34. This recessive trait is caused by a defect in one of several genes that produce or distribute melanin. The defect may result in the absence of melanin production, or a reduced amount of melanin production. This causes the organism to be spotted easily by its predator. Nature would select against the albino turtle because it will not ensure its survival in the environment.

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  35. To ask if nature would choose in favor of the albino turtle is a vastly broad question that must be narrowed down to specific details in order to answer. If this where the base question for an experiment, variables such as the species of turtle itself, where in the world it would be tested and around which other organisms said turtles would be around must be set before preparing a hypothesis. Assuming the question refers to all turtles in their current habitat and taking into consideration that most spend a great deal of their lives in bodies of water, are typically not predators and ,because they are cold blooded,tend to live in warm places as it is better for their health, I would have to deduce that no, natural selection would not currently choose in favor of the albino turtle mostly because of the threat of being more easily seen by predators. Turtles currently have a dark upper shell which, when in land, goes well with foliage and when seen from above while the turtle is in water blends in with the darkness of the deep. The bottom half of a turtle is typically lightly colored which, when seen from below in water, mixes well with the bright, light colors produced by the day. Were a turtle albino it would lose the relatively good camouflage it has, but if turtles lived in either of the poles or places with similar weather then nature would lean towards the selection of the albino turtle.

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  36. I believe that nature would be against the albino turtle since because of its color it can be easily spotted by its prey and would not last long in its environment. Their families and social groups exclude them because they seem foreign to them and do not welcome them. It is said that in captivity they’re better. Albino animals make prized and expensive pets.

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  37. Albinism is passed genetically from parents to offspring. Albinos have the characteristics of other members of their species, except that their cells are unable to produce melanin, a dark pigment that results in normal coloration in the skin, scales, eyes or hair. This is infrequent, rare, and unusual because the genes for that trait are recessive, while the genes for normal pigmentation are dominant. The condition makes it hard especially for wild animals to survive, since it makes them an easy target for predators. The animals also lack protection from hazardous ultraviolet sun rays, have very sensitive eyes and are susceptible to skin cancer. So, it is fair to say that nature selects AGAINST these unique creatures.

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  38. Albinism affects almost every species on earth but why is it so rare?the rarity is from its repressiveness and the obvious disadvantage an albino animal has ontop of being bright white inhibiting its ability to properly camouflage itself it also comes with a host of conditions like nystagmus, strabismus, Extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness, photophobia, and astigmatism all inhibiting proper vision atleast in albino humans.
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/albinism/basics/symptoms/con-20029935

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  39. I believe albinism doesn’t help the turtles because they are more visible for predators to see them. This means they will be killed at an earlier age. Also being albino affects their skin and eyes because of the ultraviolet rays.

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  40. Albinism does not help the turtles considering that they would not be able to camouflage and the predators would have a better chance in finding them. The albino turtle will have problems with nature mainly because the turtle is not fitted for the environment it lives in. Albinism is a rare trait, even though it may have downsides, it is still a beautiful and different creature.

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