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The implications of Lake Victoria on the process of speciation


The fish of Lake Victoria are still exchanging genes
Jan Klein Scientist
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These results indicate that the fish, the so-called different species, are still exchanging genes. Now, if that's true, if they are interbreeding, which is what inter-exchange of genes required, are they then real species because the biological definition of species at least, and actually most of the other definitions that have been put forward assumes that the species are reproductively isolated or if they are not reproductively isolated at least they are not mating together. But the interpretation that follows from the data that we produced indicates that they are in fact still mating. So that raises the question are they real species or is it just morphologically differentiated variants that have arisen in the lake.

Born in 1936, Jan Klein is a Czech-American immunologist who co-founded the modern science of immunogenetics – key to understanding illness and disease. He is the author or co-author of over 560 scientific publications and of seven books including 'Where Do We Come From?' which examines the molecular evolution of humans. He graduated from the Charles University at Prague in 1955, and received his MS in Botany from the same school in 1958. From 1977 to his retirement in 2004, he was the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology at Tübingen, Germany.

Listeners: Colm O'hUigin

Colm O'hUigin is a senior staff scientist at the US National Cancer Institute. He received his BA, MSc and PhD at the Genetics Department of Trinity College, Dublin where he later returned as a lecturer. He has held appointments at the Center for Population and Demographic Genetics, UT Houston, and at the University of Cambridge. As an EMBO fellow, he moved in 1990 to the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen, Germany to work with Jan Klein and lead a research group studying the evolutionary origins of immune molecules, of teeth, trypanosomes and of species.

Tags: Lake Victoria

Duration: 1 minute, 13 seconds

Date story recorded: August 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008