Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How butterflies got their spots: a “supergene” controls wing pattern diversity

26.09.2006
Butterflies are known to employ some interesting convergent evolutionary tactics to survive—some nonpoisonous species have similar wing patterns to those of noxious species that predators avoid.

In a new study published online today in the open access journal PLoS Biology, Mathieu Joron, Chris Jiggins, and colleagues investigate the underlying genetic mechanisms of such molecular mimicry in three species of Heliconius butterflies.

In this study, the authors investigate two distantly related species (H. melpomene and H. erato) that have similar wing patterns and a third species, H. numata, that is closely related to H. melpomene, but displays very different wing patterns. Each of these three species is also known to mimic a different species within another butterfly genus, Melinaea. Several genomic loci are already known to be responsible in part for encoding the wing patterns and colorings. To explore the genetic backgrounds of each of these species, the authors crossed different races of each species and genotyped the offspring in order to identify genes responsible for the color patterns. Thus, they were able to map the color pattern controlling loci in each species: N, Yb, and Sb for H. melpomene; Cr for H. erato; and P for H. numata. Using molecular markers within the pattern encoding genic regions, the authors then found that the loci controlling color pattern variation for each species lie within the same genomic equivalent locations.

This “supergene” region therefore seems to be responsible for producing wing pattern diversity in Heliconius butterflies. Such a locus plays what researchers call a “jack-of-all-trades flexibility” rather than a constraining role. Under natural selection, this region presumably functions as a “developmental switching mechanism” by responding to a wide range of mimetic pressures to produce radially divergent, locally adapted wing patterns.

... more about:
»Butterflies »WING »diversity

Citation: Joron M, Papa R, Beltrán M, Chamberlain N, Mavárez J, et al. (2006) A conserved supergene locus controls colour pattern diversity in Heliconius butterflies. PLoS Biol 4(10): e303. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0040303.

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.0040303
http://www.plosbiology.org

Further reports about: Butterflies WING diversity

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

nachricht Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>