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.
Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion
26.07.2017 | Penn State
New virus discovered in migratory bird in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
26.07.2017 | Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.07.2017 | Life Sciences
26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences