Butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species.

TitleButterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
Corporate AuthorsHeliconius Genome Consortium
JournalNature
Volume487
Issue7405
Pagination94-8
Date Published2012 Jul 5
ISSN1476-4687
KeywordsAdaptation, Physiological, Animals, Bombyx, Butterflies, Chromosomes, Insect, Evolution, Molecular, Gene Flow, Genes, Homeobox, Genes, Insect, Genome, Insect, Genomics, Hybridization, Genetic, Molecular Mimicry, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Pigmentation, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Species Specificity, Synteny, Wings, Animal
Abstract

The evolutionary importance of hybridization and introgression has long been debated. Hybrids are usually rare and unfit, but even infrequent hybridization can aid adaptation by transferring beneficial traits between species. Here we use genomic tools to investigate introgression in Heliconius, a rapidly radiating genus of neotropical butterflies widely used in studies of ecology, behaviour, mimicry and speciation. We sequenced the genome of Heliconius melpomene and compared it with other taxa to investigate chromosomal evolution in Lepidoptera and gene flow among multiple Heliconius species and races. Among 12,669 predicted genes, biologically important expansions of families of chemosensory and Hox genes are particularly noteworthy. Chromosomal organization has remained broadly conserved since the Cretaceous period, when butterflies split from the Bombyx (silkmoth) lineage. Using genomic resequencing, we show hybrid exchange of genes between three co-mimics, Heliconius melpomene, Heliconius timareta and Heliconius elevatus, especially at two genomic regions that control mimicry pattern. We infer that closely related Heliconius species exchange protective colour-pattern genes promiscuously, implying that hybridization has an important role in adaptive radiation.

DOI10.1038/nature11041
Alternate JournalNature
PubMed ID22722851
PubMed Central IDPMC3398145
Grant ListBB/G00661X/1 / / Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council / United Kingdom
BB/G006903/1 / / Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council / United Kingdom
BB/H014357/1 / / Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council / United Kingdom
BB/H01439X/1 / / Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council / United Kingdom
G0900740 / / Medical Research Council / United Kingdom
R01 GM083873 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
R01 HG006102 / HG / NHGRI NIH HHS / United States
R01 HG006677 / HG / NHGRI NIH HHS / United States
T32 GM007197 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
T32 HD060555 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
U54 HG003273 / HG / NHGRI NIH HHS / United States
/ / Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council / United Kingdom