Speciation Through Artificial Selection?

I have a question for people who are well versed in evolution. It is often asserted by creationists that speciation does not take place. They ask for a single example of speciation happening and I can’t think of one in any kind of complex organism.

It occured to me that the various breeding experiments with fruit flies must have produced, at times, a viable new species. By that I mean one that could reproduce with its brood-mates but would be genetically unable to produce viable offspring with non-brood-mates separated by a few dozen generations.

Note that I said “genetically”. That means that the impediment should not simply be that fertilization is physically impossible. For example, a fruit fly might be bred with outsize sexual hardware, yet still be able (through artificial means) to fertilize the eggs of another line. (To be honest, I don’t know how fruit flies make whoopie, so maybe my objection is meaningless.) A physically incompatible fruit fly wouldn’t be a new “species” sufficient to answer the challenge of creationists; it would just be a morphological freak.

Also, we couldn’t consider flies produced by genetic engineering, since that would be, umm, “cheating” and in any case wouldn’t answer the assertion that a Biblical “kind” always reproduces without causing speciation. (Yes, I realize it’s not a single-generation thing.)

I hope I’ve explained the issue clearly enough. I have the feeling that an expert in evolution would have already recognized the issue I’m addressing and have a ready answer for me.

Anyway, can anybody cite a web address (or point to a book, or whatever) that gives an example of speciation by artificial selection?

Dogs aren’t wolves any longer, are they? In fact, pretty much every domesticated species we have has been artificially selected to the point where they are no longer classified as the same species. I assume some of those wild ancestors are still out there, too.

But if you’re looking for evolution in real time, my guess is your best bet is to look at bacteria and other itty bitty species that reproduce very quickly. Sorry, no cites to “artificial species,” just a guess. Besides, most creationists no longer bother to deny small-scale evolution, so I doubt they’re going to be impressed with speciation brought on by artificial selection.

Soon large animals will be headed for artificial speciation.

The beefalo is now in it’s 10 generation, with some of the 1/4 breeds fertile with some, but not all, of their cousins.

They have “revived” okapi relatives and are busy trying to “Jurassic Park” a frozen mammoth with a regular elephant egg.

Rabbits and monkeys have fluorescent jellyfish genes.

What more do you need as proof that man can fill the ark?

After a few dodo are revived, with our “collective guilt” as the reason, we will see all manner of mix and match animals. It may be fun, actually, but sort of scary too. Do I think they have the sense to stop before they invent super-locusts? Not really.

Before anyone else beats me to it, check out the talkorigins FAQ: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

Skip down to 5.3, which talks about fruit flies. I think this is exactly what you’re looking for.

I think this is more along the lines the Tim was looking for. It should get you started anyway:

Observed Instances of Speciation FAQ

minty, since dogs are often interfertile with wolves, they are not technically a different species. There is some tendency these days to call them Canis lupus var. domesticus instead of calling them Canis domesticus.

FKAB, what “okapi relatives” are you talking about? Giraffes??

DammitVenkman, ya beat me to it! My post wasn’t referring to your link (which I assume is the same as mine), but to the two posts above.

I hate it when the board is slow.

Actually, the rabbit and monkey are not new species.

I’m more worried about when they cross the phiranahs with bats.

Too late. Ever go camping in weatern Canada or Alaska? They just call 'em mosquitos so as not to scare off the tourists.*



Thanks, everybody, for the info you’ve provided. I’ll check out those links.

And I’ll watch out for dem pirhanabats. They got radar!