Super mutation Results in Coloration of Stick Insects
Usually our traits are determined by our environments and different genes that were inherited. However, in the wild, traits can be affected by different mutations that can be caused by the affecting adaption. Most stick insects, or called the Timema species, are usually green and brown in color. These insects are able to use their camouflaging capabilities to hide from various predators. However, one species, Timema chumash, have the ability to morph into colors including green, brown, red, yellow, orange, and even blue. This variation in color is caused by a super mutation that converts a continuum of color into discrete color morphs in other stick insect species. By using various genome mapping methods, researchers are able find where large, million base pair, adaptive deletion is taking place. A scientist who was apart of the team conducting the study, Zach Gompert, noted that the super mutation has persisted by natural selection and has maintained in balance for millions of years.