Science News

Mysterious disease killed tons of California starfish. This species fought back — by evolving

Starfish sea star
Sea stars on a rock in Cayucos. Five years after sea star wasting disease took hold, killing many of the creatures, one species went through a microevolution to survive. Joe Tarica

The Modesto Bee

Just five years after a wasting disease swept California starfish populations, killing many of the creatures, scientists have discovered a microevolution in one species of sea star that helped it survive. The microevolution shows how the sea stars rapidly responded to the onslaught of wasting disease with a genetic shift.