Re: NANFA-- Re: Pupfish

D. Martin Moore (
Wed, 6 Jun 2001 20:06:30 -0500

On 6 Jun 2001, at 20:40, Brian Bastarache wrote:

> But in argument was to use these animals as a "bank" to one day return to
> the Devil's Hole site. These tank bred fish MAY have an edge and
> out-compete the natural phenotype. The pup fish we know and love would
> dissappear...OR..Just as bad interbreed with the natural fish. Either way
> we would be loosing gentic information. And that is what this is mostly
> about.
> Every species has a library in its genes. A library with information that
> has been written of the last 3.5 billion years. Would you support the
> burning of books, much less libraries?

I am not convinced that maintaining refugia would cause these fish
to lose genetic information. You would think, after 10,000 years,
that they would have "lost" the information that allows them to grow
rudimentary pelvic fins, etc. But it appears this is not the case.
Would they therefore lose their genetic heritage after a few
generations in aquarists' tanks? It would be interesting to see what
happens if captive-raised 100th generation pupfish were released
back into Devil's Hole. I hypothesize that, like "fancy" guppies,
they would quickly revert to wild type. I further suppose that the
number of fish initially used in the study would have some small

The idea that a fish can go from diabolis to not-diabolis within a few
generations brings to the forefront of my mind the question of what
constitutes a species, and whether our idea of how evolution works
is correct.


Jackson, MS
One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was
going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead
I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said.
"Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think
that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I
started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was
getting pretty late.

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