Browsing by Subject "Heliconius"

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  • Byers, Kelsey J. R. P.; Darragh, Kathy; Musgrove, Jamie; Abondano Almeida, Diana; Fernanda Garza, Sylvia; Warren, Ian A.; Rastas, Pasi M.; Kucka, Marek; Chan, Yingguang Frank; Merrill, Richard M.; Schulz, Stefan; Owen McMillan, W.; Jiggins, Chris D. (2020)
    Understanding the production, response, and genetics of signals used in mate choice can inform our understanding of the evolution of both intraspecific mate choice and reproductive isolation. Sex pheromones are important for courtship and mate choice in many insects, but we know relatively little of their role in butterflies. The butterfly Heliconius melpomene uses a complex blend of wing androconial compounds during courtship. Electroantennography in H. melpomene and its close relative Heliconius cydno showed that responses to androconial extracts were not species specific. Females of both species responded equally strongly to extracts of both species, suggesting conservation of peripheral nervous system elements across the two species. Individual blend components provoked little to no response, with the exception of octadecanal, a major component of the H. melpomene blend. Supplementing octadecanal on the wings of octadecanal-rich H. melpomene males led to an increase in the time until mating, demonstrating the bioactivity of octadecanal in Heliconius. Using quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping, we identified a single locus on chromosome 20 responsible for 41% of the parental species' difference in octadecanal production. This QTL does not overlap with any of the major wing color or mate choice loci, nor does it overlap with known regions of elevated or reduced F-ST. A set of 16 candidate fatty acid biosynthesis genes lies underneath the QTL. Pheromones in Heliconius carry information relevant for mate choice and are under simple genetic control, suggesting they could be important during speciation.
  • Byers, Kelsey J. R. P.; Darragh, Kathy; Fernanda Garza, Sylvia; Abondano Almeida, Diana; Warren, Ian A.; Rastas, Pasi M. A.; Merrill, Richard M.; Schulz, Stefan; McMillan, W. Owen; Jiggins, Chris D. (2021)
    The degree to which loci promoting reproductive isolation cluster in the genome-that is, the genetic architecture of reproductive isolation-can influence the tempo and mode of speciation. Tight linkage between these loci can facilitate speciation in the face of gene flow. Pheromones play a role in reproductive isolation in many Lepidoptera species, and the role of endogenously produced compounds as secondary metabolites decreases the likelihood of pleiotropy associated with many barrier loci. Heliconius butterflies use male sex pheromones to both court females (aphrodisiac wing pheromones) and ward off male courtship (male-transferred antiaphrodisiac genital pheromones), and it is likely that these compounds play a role in reproductive isolation between Heliconius species. Using a set of backcross hybrids between H. melpomene and H. cydno, we investigated the genetic architecture of putative male pheromone compound production. We found a set of 40 significant quantitative trait loci (QTL) representing 33 potential pheromone compounds. QTL clustered significantly on two chromosomes, chromosome 8 for genital compounds and chromosome 20 for wing compounds, and chromosome 20 was enriched for potential pheromone biosynthesis genes. There was minimal overlap between pheromone QTL and known QTL for mate choice and color pattern. Nonetheless, we did detect linkage between a QTL for wing androconial area and optix, a color pattern locus known to play a role in reproductive isolation in these species. This tight clustering of putative pheromone loci might contribute to coincident reproductive isolating barriers, facilitating speciation despite ongoing gene flow.
  • Mattila, Anniina L. K.; Jiggins, Chris D.; Opedal, Øystein H.; Montejo-Kovacevich, Gabriela; de Castro, Érika; McMillan, William O.; Bacquet, Caroline; Saastamoinen, Marjo (2021)
    Chemical defences against predators underlie the evolution of aposematic coloration and mimicry, which are classic examples of adaptive evolution. Surprisingly little is known about the roles of ecological and evolutionary processes maintaining defence variation, and how they may feedback to shape the evolutionary dynamics of species. Cyanogenic Heliconius butterflies exhibit diverse warning color patterns and mimicry, thus providing a useful framework for investigating these questions. We studied intraspecific variation in de novo biosynthesized cyanogenic toxicity and its potential ecological and evolutionary sources in wild populations of Heliconius erato along environmental gradients, in common-garden broods and with feeding treatments. Our results demonstrate substantial intraspecific variation, including detectable variation among broods reared in a common garden. The latter estimate suggests considerable evolutionary potential in this trait, although predicting the response to selection is likely complicated due to the observed skewed distribution of toxicity values and the signatures of maternal contributions to the inheritance of toxicity. Larval diet contributed little to toxicity variation. Furthermore, toxicity profiles were similar along steep rainfall and altitudinal gradients, providing little evidence for these factors explaining variation in biosynthesized toxicity in natural populations. In contrast, there were striking differences in the chemical profiles of H. erato from geographically distant populations, implying potential local adaptation in the acquisition mechanisms and levels of defensive compounds. The results highlight the extensive variation and potential for adaptive evolution in defense traits for aposematic and mimetic species, which may contribute to the high diversity often found in these systems.
  • Bainbridge, Hannah E.; Brien, Melanie N.; Morochz, Carlos; Salazar, Patricio A.; Rastas, Pasi; Nadeau, Nicola J. (2020)
    Mimetic systems allow us to address the question of whether the same genes control similar phenotypes in different species. Although widespread parallels have been found for major effect loci, much less is known about genes that control quantitative trait variation. In this study, we identify and compare the loci that control subtle changes in the size and shape of forewing pattern elements in twoHeliconiusbutterfly co-mimics. We use quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis with a multivariate phenotyping approach to map the variation in red pattern elements across the whole forewing surface ofHeliconius eratoandHeliconius melpomene. These results are compared with a QTL analysis of univariate trait changes, and show that our resolution for identifying small effect loci is somewhat improved with the multivariate approach, but also that different loci are detected with these different approaches. QTL likely corresponding to the known patterning geneoptixwere found in both species but otherwise, a remarkably low level of genetic parallelism was found. This lack of similarity indicates that the genetic basis of convergent traits may not be as predictable as assumed from studies that focus solely on Mendelian traits.