Against the tide

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The article Against the tide is about a fish that adapts swiftly to a dangerous pollution level. Evolution is trying as hard as possible to rescue some fish of the urban from the human-altered and lethal environment. The Atlantic Killifish that live in the four polluted East Coast estuaries have acquired adaptation to highly toxic levels of industrial pollutants. The pollutants without the adaptation would kill this fish. This paper seeks to discuss what is interesting about the article and the specific information that an individual can learn from the article.

Something interesting about the article is that while the changes in the environment are outpacing the evolution rate for several other species, Atlantic killifish that live in the estuaries of four polluted East coasts are remarkably resilient (Davis, 2016). The fish have gained adaptation to highly toxic levels of industrial pollutants.  The pollutants under normal conditions ought to kill the fish. The killifish is up to eight thousand times more resistant to the high levels of toxic pollutants than other fish species. Even though the fish is never commercially valuable, it is a vital food for other species. Some of the species that feed on the fish are commercially valuable. It indicates that Killifish plays a critical role in a food web.

Precise information that an individual could learn from the article is the way diversity in genetics hastens evolution. Extremely high genetic variation levels of Killifish make it unique. Its genetic diversity is greater than any other known vertebrates. The vertebrates include even human beings. The more genetics is diversified, the faster there is the action of evolution (Monosson, 2015). It is among the reasons why weeds and insects can swiftly adapt and undergo development to have resistance to pesticides. It is also one of the reasons why pathogens quickly evolve to have resistance against drugs manufactured to destroy them.

However, not all species of living organisms are lucky like killifish and a few other species of weeds and insects (Davis, 2016). Some individuals would look at it as positive and have thoughts of all species evolving in reaction to what they are going through in an environment. Unfortunately, a good number of the species that people care about preserving can never adapt to the quick changes. They lack the high levels of genetic variation that should enable them to undergo evolution swiftly.

The team that did the work of genome sequencings for the Killifish came up with a genetic analysis that suggests the Atlantic killifish`s genetic variation makes then to be positioned in an unusual way (Noah et al., 2016). This positioning enables the fish to adapt to survive in habitats that are altered radically. All the levels of genetics evolve in a similar way. It gives a suggestion that these fish carry genetic diversity that allows them to have adaptations before the pollution of the sites (Nacci et al., 2016). The work that the team of scientists did lays the foundation for research in the future that would explore the forms of genes that confer specific chemical tolerance. Such studies could assist in explaining how genetic variations make contributions to the differences in environmental chemicals sensitivity

In conclusion, genetics has a significant role in Atlantic Killifish resisting pollution. If human beings have the knowledge of the sort of genes that confer sensitivity in the vertebrates, perhaps they can have an understanding of how various people with their mutations might react to the environmental chemicals.

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  1. Monosson, E. (2015). Release: Toxics in the Wild. In Unnatural Selection (pp. 109-126). Island Press/Center for Resource Economics.
  2. Nacci, D., Proestou, D., Champlin, D., Martinson, J., & Waits, E. R. (2016). Genetic basis for rapidly evolved tolerance in the wild: adaptation to toxic pollutants by an estuarine fish species. Molecular Ecology, 25(21), 5467-5482.
  3. Noah M. Reid et al. (2016).The genomic landscape of rapid repeated evolutionary adaptation to toxic pollution in wild fish. Science, December 2016 DOI: 10.1126/science.aah4993
  4. University of California – Davis. (2016, December 8). Against the tide: A fish adapts quickly to lethal levels of pollution: What’s its secret? And can humans learn from it?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 11, 2016, from:
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