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 shape 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.

 

Dr. Aide Macias-Muñoz introducing SACNAS Distinguished Scientist Dr. Adriana Briscoe at the 2018 National Diversity in STEM Conference in San Antonio, TX. Photo credit: SACNAS

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