genetic basis for species

Michael Gochfeld gochfeld at
Tue Apr 2 08:48:32 EST 2002

I agree with Niklas that we are not likely to get much information at the
subspecific level from genetics for quite a while (probably most of our

But it is also possible that subspecific differences are not genetic but
reflect environmental and epigenetic factors that influence size, pigmentation,

Plants, of course, are particularly vulnerable to variation influenced by
environmental conditions, resulting in recognition of ecotypes rather than
subspecies. The polyphenism in butterflies is a good example of environmentally
influenced variation, and the seasonal forms of some of our common butterflies
vary much more than many subspecies, which creates a nightmarish situation in
my mind.  This is spring, the time of the tiny Cabbage White.

Mike Gochfeld


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