New light on moths gone soot-colored

Blackening of insects during industrial revolution traced to genetic region controlling coloration

By Tina Hesman Saey, 15:32 PM April 14, 2011

The molecular mechanics behind a classic example of evolution that dates back to Darwin’s time may soon be revealed.

As soot from coal-fired factories blackened trees and buildings in 19th century England, naturalists noticed that peppered moths were also trading in their light-colored wings sprinkled with black specks for a sleek, all-black stealth-bomber look known as the carbonaria form. Within a few decades of their first appearance near Manchester, the black moths dominated, making up ...

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