One gene, many fish

The Great Lakes of East Africa swarm with fish–particulary with one kind of fish known as cichlids. In Lake Victoria alone you can find over 500 species. These species come in different colors and make their living in many different ways–sucking out eyeballs of other cichlids, scraping algae off of rocks, and so on. What’s strange about all this is that the Great Lakes of East Africa are some of the youngest lakes on Earth. By some estimates, Lake Victoria was a dry lake bed 15,000 years ago. All that diversity has evolved in a very short period of time.

East African cichlids are therefore not just pretty fish. They are natural experiments in evolution–in particular, in the capacity that animals

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