‘Jumping Gene’ Painted the Peppered Moth Black

The peppered moth is a poster species for evolution by natural selection.

The typical peppered moth, Biston betularia, is white with black speckles, a color scheme that helps it hide from predators on light-colored tree bark. But during the Industrial Revolution in the United Kingdom, coal-fired factories caked buildings and trees in black soot.

In 1848 the first entirely black peppered moth was identified, and by 1895, nearly 98 percent of peppered moths observed in Manchester were th

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