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Butterfly study reveals traits and genes associated with establishment of new populations
Date:3/28/2011

heat, the paper's lead author, said, "We already knew about Pgi from previous work in other butterflies and what has been done so far in the Glanville fritillary butterfly. Now with Sdhd we have two genes in the same carbohydrate-metabolism pathway containing alleles of major effect for ecologically important traits." Marden also commented on the differences in gene expression involving protein dynamics. "Butterflies obtain protein only during larval feeding, whereas the adults rely on nectar, from which they obtain only carbohydrate," he said. "The timing and level of expenditure of stored proteins is one way to manipulate life history in a species where no more protein will be available to the adult."

Marden also said that this study system provides a great opportunity to observe evolution in action, in near-real time, and in ways that are coupled tightly with the ecology of the species. "Most evolutionary studies don't have nearly as much ecological detail as this study system, and comparable ecological systems generally don't address the physiology and genetic variants involved," he said. "We've set the stage for a powerful synthesis as this work moves forward."


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Contact: Barbara Kennedy
science@psu.edu
814-863-4682
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

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