Evolution, coloration and vision

What happens to gene products underlying physiological and behavioral traits following gene duplication and functional diversification? We use butterflies to examine how natural selection shapes the coding sequences and gene expression patterns of photoreceptor proteins in the eye and how this may lead to evolutionary changes in color vision and wing color. How does color vision impact ecological interactions between butterflies and their predators, potential mates, host plants and the environment in the context of mimicry and species recognition? We examine this using modeling and field experiments.

 

Selected recent publications:


Briscoe AD, Macias-Muñoz A, Kozak KM, Walters JR, Yuan F, et al. 2013. Female behaviour drives expression and evolution of gustatory receptors in butterflies. PLoS Genetics 9: e1003620. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003620


Heliconius Genome Consortium. 2012. Butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species. Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature11041


Finkbeiner S, Briscoe AD, Reed RD. 2012. The benefit of being  a social butterfly: communal roosting deters predation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 279:2769-76. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0203


Bybee SM, Yuan F, Ramstetter MD, Llorente-Bousquets J, Reed RD, Osorio D, Briscoe AD. 2012. UV photoreceptors and UV-yellow wing pigments in Heliconius butterflies allow a color signal to serve both mimicry and intraspecific communication. The American Naturalist, 179: 38-51, DOI:10.1086/663192


Adriana Briscoe, PI                                                     Photo credit: Lauren Hillary

Everett et al. (2012) BMC Evolutionary Biology        Photo credit: Antónia Monteiro

Tepantitla mural, Teotihuacán, México         Photo credit: Adriana Briscoe

Our work is at the intersection of molecular evolution, evolutionary physiology, and animal behavior and is supported by the National Science Foundation.