Journal article

Chromosomal rearrangements maintain a polymorphic supergene controlling butterfly mimicry

Mathieu Joron, Lise Frezal, Robert T Jones, Nicola L Chamberlain, Siu F Lee, Christoph R Haag, Annabel Whibley, Michel Becuwe, Simon W Baxter, Laura Ferguson, Paul A Wilkinson, Camilo Salazar, Claire Davidson, Richard Clark, Michael A Quail, Helen Beasley, Rebecca Glithero, Christine Lloyd, Sarah Sims, Matthew C Jones Show all

Nature | NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP | Published : 2011


Supergenes are tight clusters of loci that facilitate the co-segregation of adaptive variation, providing integrated control of complex adaptive phenotypes. Polymorphic supergenes, in which specific combinations of traits are maintained within a single population, were first described for 'pin' and 'thrum' floral types in Primula and Fagopyrum, but classic examples are also found in insect mimicry and snail morphology. Understanding the evolutionary mechanisms that generate these co-adapted gene sets, as well as the mode of limiting the production of unfit recombinant forms, remains a substantial challenge. Here we show that individual wing-pattern morphs in the polymorphic mimetic butterfly..

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University of Melbourne Researchers


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Awarded by Natural Environment Research Council

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank M. Blaxter and D. Charlesworth for advice throughout the study; The GenePool and S. Humphray for DNA sequencing; S. Kumar and A. Papanicolaou for bioinformatics support; M. Beltran, A. Bulski, M. Veuille and the Botanique-Entomologie-Mycologie molecular facility (BoEM) for laboratory support; S. Johnston for genome-size estimates in H. numata; D. Obbard for providing R scripts; M. Abanto, S. Gallusser, C. Ramirez, L. de Silva, J. Barbut, B. Gilles and G. Lamas for help with butterfly rearing, fieldwork and collecting permits; and the Peruvian National Institute of Natural Resources (INRENA) for granting collecting and export permits (076-2007-INRENA-IFFS-DCB). Fieldwork in French Guiana was supported by a CNRS 'Nouragues Research Grant'. This work was supported by an EMBO long-term fellowship (ALTF-431-2004), EMBO-matching funds from NWO (Netherlands), a Royal Society University Research Fellowship (516002.K5917/ROG), a CNRS grant (ATIP Biodiversite 2008, France) and a European Research Council Starting Grant (ERC-Stg 'MimEvol') to M. J., a BBSRC grant (BBE0118451) to C. D. J. and R.H.ff.-C., a Leverhulme Trust grant (F/00144AY) to R.H.ff.-C., and a Royal Society University Research Fellowship and a Leverhulme Research Leadership grant to C. D. J.