Sunday, August 6, 2023

butterfly wing patterns emerge from ancient dna

 New research explains how non-coding regulatory DNA manipulates butterfly wing patterns to create diversity while conserving a basic plan conserved over tens to hundreds of millions of years.The researchers found that the same gene can build different looking butterflies, and that non-coding regulatory DNA works like switches to turn up some patterns and turn down others.This study focused on the effect of non-coding DNA on the WntA gene in five species of nymphalid butterflies. The researchers used ATAC-seq to identify regions in the genome where this unraveling is occurring, and then employed CRISPR-Cas gene editing technology to disable 46 regulatory elements one at a time.Researchers found that the regulatory elements controlling the WntA gene were ancient and conserved across four species, and that the monarch butterfly used a different regulatory system to develop its unique color patterns.Reed's paper shows how people can use ATAC-seq and CRISPR to study non-coding regions in their own study systems.The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and revealed new evidence for how regulatory DNA segments positively and negatively influence traits such as color and shape.


1 comment:

  1. I find it so interesting how the non-coding regulatory DNA works like a switch and can turn up or turn down patterns to make every butterfly look a little bit different. I wonder if this works for the vibrancy of colors too.