Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Differences can hold populations together


Evolution favours the body form best adapted to the local environment, but it can also favour rare forms. Stickleback experiments reveal how these two selection forces can interact, and how this can limit population divergence. See Letter p.285

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Different forms of stickleback fish inhabit lakes and streams.

Daniel Berner (adapted)


  1. See all news & views


  1. Clarke, B. Heredity 17, 319–345 (1962).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Bolnick, D. I. & Stutz, W. E. Nature 546, 285–288 (2017).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Hughes, K. A., Houde, A. E., Price, A. C. & Rodd, F. H. Nature 503, 108–110 (2013).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Shuster, S. M. & Wade, M. J. Nature 350, 608–610 (1991).

    Article  ADS  Google Scholar 

  5. Sinervo, B. & Lively, C. M. Nature 380, 240–243 (1996).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Kubinak, J. L. et al. Genes Immun. 14, 365–372 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. Dybdahl, M. F. & Lively, C. M. Evolution 52, 1057–1066 (1998).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Apanius, V., Penn, D., Slev, P. R., Ruff, L. R. & Potts, W. K. Crit. Rev. Immunol. 17, 179–224 (1997).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Berner, D., Adams, D. C., Grandchamp, A. C. & Hendry, A. P. J. Evol. Biol. 21, 1653–1665 (2008).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Ravinet, M., Prodöhl, P. A. & Harrod, C. J. Evol. Biol. 26, 186–204 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  11. Reznick, D. N. & Travis, J. in Adaptation (eds Rose, M. R. & Lauder, G. V.) 243–290 (Academic, 1996).

    Google Scholar 

  12. Schluter, D. Science 266, 798–801 (1994).

    Article  ADS  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Hereford, J. Am. Nat. 173, 579–588 (2009).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to David N. Reznick or Joseph Travis.

Related links

Related links

Related links in Nature Research

Evolution: Catastrophe triggers diversification

Evolution: Insect invasions and natural selection

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Reznick, D., Travis, J. Differences can hold populations together. Nature 546, 218–219 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing