Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Butterfly Wing Patterns Emerge

 A study funded by the National Science Foundation has uncovered a set of DNA patterns that is responsible for the pattern of butterfly wings. These DNA sequences sit between genes, sometimes referred to as "non-coding" DNA. These coils of DNA become unwound in order to interact with genes. Researchers used ATAC-seq to identify where the DNA has unraveled. Researchers then used CRISPR-Cas gene editing technology to disable 46 elements one at a time, and note the changes that were caused to the wing pattern. 

They hypothesize that this DNA has kept a plan of patterns for millions of years, and that it works like a switch, flipping up and down to create different patterns. 

Previous work has uncovered specific genes responsible for different aspects of wing pattern. Optix controls color and iridescence, and WntA controls stripes. 

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