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The repeatability of evolution; colour pattern control in Heliconius butterflies

Morris, Jake (2016) The repeatability of evolution; colour pattern control in Heliconius butterflies. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Heliconius butterflies are found across the neo-tropics, with bright aposematic colour patterns. These Müllerian mimics show striking colour pattern convergence across species, while paradoxically showing striking diversity within species. Thus Heliconius wing patterns have become an excellent system for understanding the repeatability of evolution. This work has identified a number of genes that appear to be involved in colour pattern control across species, such as optix and cortex, which respectively control red and yellow pattern elements. However, this work has only looked at the genetic basis of colour pattern in a small number of species, and primarily focusses on just two; H. melpomene and H. erato. I first use a population genomics approach to try to identify whether optix controls the hindwing rays phenotype in two poorly studied species; H. demeter and H. aoede. I identify both divergence associated with colour pattern at this optix, as well as another putative colour pattern control locus in H. aoede, the ommochrome pathway gene cardinal. Further, I use Quantitative trait loci analysis to explore the genetics of colour pattern in H. melpomene, confirming WntA as the gene controlling the ‘broken band’ phenotype and I identify a locus associated with red-orange pigmentation, while also exploring the role of minor effect loci in quantitative colour pattern variation. Finally, I use the natural diversity at two hybrid zones, in conjunction with phylogenetic discordance at mimicry loci, to identify putative regulatory enhancers associated with colour pattern shifts, investigate introgression across species at this fine genetic scale, and the possible role of colour pattern introgression in Heliconius speciation. This work reveals both interesting cases of convergent genetic evolution, independent genetic evolution and introgression, showing that a variety of evolutionary processes have shaped Heliconius mimicry across species.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Evolution, Convergence, Ecological genetics, Population genetics, Enhancers, QTL analysis
Academic Units: The University of York > Biology (York)
Depositing User: Mr Jake Morris
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2017 16:13
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2019 01:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16595

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