Patrícia Beldade
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Genomic resources for a butterfly evo-devo model

I did my post-doctoral work with 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 (pub#8; online db), 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 (GenBank) 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 (pub#9) 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 phenotypes. In the future, we hope to be able to look at variation in natural populations of B. anynana and other species of the genus.

research intro


on-going projects

Ph.D. thesis

outside attention


NSF grant summary

B. anynana lifecycle

B. anynana EST db


Bicyclus anynana:



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