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The Evolutionary Genetics and Developmental Basis of Wing Pattern Variation in the Butterfly Bicyclus anynana

Antonia F. Monteiro, Paul M. Brakefield and Vernon French
Evolution
Vol. 48, No. 4 (Aug., 1994), pp. 1147-1157
DOI: 10.2307/2410374
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410374
Page Count: 11
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The Evolutionary Genetics and Developmental Basis of Wing Pattern Variation in the Butterfly Bicyclus anynana
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Abstract

We have studied interactions between developmental processes and genetic variation for the eyespot color pattern on the adult dorsal forewing of the nymphalid butterfly, Bicyclus anynana. Truncation selection was applied in both an upward and a downward direction to the size of a single eyespot consisting of rings with wing scales of differing color pigments. High heritabilities resulted in rapid responses to selection yielding divergent lines with very large or very small eyespots. Strong correlated responses occurred in most of the other eyespots on each wing surface. The cells at the center of a presumptive eyespot (the "focus") act in the early pupal stage to establish the adult wing pattern. The developmental fate of the scale cells within an eyespot is specified by the "signaling" properties of the focus and the "response" thresholds of the epidermis. The individual eyespots can be envisaged as developmental homologues. Grafting experiments performed with the eyespot foci of the selected lines showed that additive genetic variance exists for both the response and, in particular, the signaling components of the developmental system. The results are discussed in the context of how constraints on the evolution of this wing pattern may be related to the developmental organization.

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