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.
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.
Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society
127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Information Technology
18.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation