In Africa’s Rift Valley, cichlid fish are able to shorten or lengthen their jaws rapidly in order to take advantage of new food sources. Evolutionary biologist Craig Albertson and his team are researching whether the genes that allow short-term changes in jaw length are the same genes that led to the development of the 1,000-plus distinct cichlid species in the valley today. His research will answer critical questions about phenotypic plasticity, the idea that genes interact with the environment to produce different patterns of variation. Learn more.
Photo credit: Craig Albertson