Complex modular architecture around a simple toolkit of wing pattern genes. Van Belleghem, S., M., Rastas, P., Papanicolaou, A., Martin, S., H., Arias, C., F., Supple, M., A., Hanly, J., J., Mallet, J., Lewis, J., J., Hines, H., M., Ruiz, M., Salazar, C., Linares, M., Moreira, G., R., P., Jiggins, C., D., Counterman, B., A., McMillan, W., O., & Papa, R. Nature ecology & evolution, 1(3):52, NIH Public Access, 2017.
Complex modular architecture around a simple toolkit of wing pattern genes. [pdf]Paper  Complex modular architecture around a simple toolkit of wing pattern genes. [link]Website  abstract   bibtex   
Identifying the genomic changes that control morphological variation and understanding how they generate diversity is a major goal of evolutionary biology. In Heliconius butterflies, a small number of genes control the development of diverse wing color patterns. Here, we used full genome sequencing of individuals across the Heliconius erato radiation and closely related species to characterize genomic variation associated with wing pattern diversity. We show that variation around color pattern genes is highly modular, with narrow genomic intervals associated with specific differences in color and pattern. This modular architecture explains the diversity of color patterns and provides a flexible mechanism for rapid morphological diversification.

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