Genomic resources for a butterfly evo-devo model
I did my post-doctoral
Tony Long at the
University of California at Irvine (USA)
as an EMBO felow on a research project supported
by NSF. In the quest to understanding the genetic basis of
phenotypic variation and adaptive evolution, B.
anynana eyespot patterns are a particularly
exciting system because they render themselves to the integration of different
types of data. These
including ecological, evolutionary, developmental, physiological,
and genetic studies.
In order to be able to make the most of B. anynana butterflies as genetic
models and further the potential of this butterfly as a
study organism in evolutionary, developmental, and ecological genetics,
we developed genetic and genomic tools for this system - including an EST project
a gene-based linkage map, and high-density gene arrays. These which will be pivotal for
the dissection of the
genetic basis of
variation in wing patterns, a morphological phenotype of clear adaptive value.
We ran a B. anynana Expression Sequence Tag
(EST) project using cDNA libraries made of larval
and pupal wing discs.
The focus on these biased gene discovery towards genes that are expressed
at the right place (i.e. wing primordia), at the right time
(i.e. when wing patterning is being specified).
Sequencing a large number of ESTs
from outbred butterflies further enabled
us not only to identify new "wing genes" (about 4200 Unique Genes)
but also to find
sequence polymorphisms in those genes
which can be used to make a B. anynana gene-based linkage map.
Our "wing gene" map will be used to
localize the genetic factors involved in variation in eyespot pattern
phenotypes. We will look at both standing genetic variation, by using
artificial selection lines, and at mutant stocks, both available in the
Brakefield lab at the University of Leiden
(The Netherlands). Our butterfly wing ESTs will also be put on
high-density arrays which we will use to look at differences in gene
expression across lab selection lines and mutant stocks with different eyespot
In the future, we hope to be able to look at variation in natural populations
B. anynana and other species of the genus.
NSF grant summary
B. anynana lifecycle
B. anynana EST db