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Science File | In Brief

Global Warming Altering Mosquito

November 12, 2001

University of Oregon researchers have identified for the first time a creature that is evolving in response to global warming. The pitcher plant mosquito, a tiny, fragile species that seldom bothers people, is starting to delay when it breeds and develops, they reported in the recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The insect bases its life cycle on the length of the day. When winter approaches, it is genetically programmed to hibernate. But a subgroup within the population has slightly different genes that cause them to reproduce later in the season. Global warming, with its longer growing season, will lead to this group's domination of the pitcher plant mosquito population.

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Compiled by Times medical writer Thomas H. Maugh II

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