CRISPR/Cas9 mosaic knockout of red patterning gene optix in Heliconius melpomene

In the last decade, CRISPR/Cas9 has emerged as an essential tool for genome editing and we have worked hard to apply these methods to butterflies. We use CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing to functionally validate candidate genes and study gene function by generating knock-outs. We are also working to expand the CRISPR methodology toolkit in butterflies and make them an even more tractable experimental system. In addition to CRISPR/Cas9, we utilize a variety of other methods to study functional genomics in butterflies, including comparative transcriptomics, ChIP-Seq, ATAC-Seq and RNAi.

Selected Publications

Bayala, E. X., N. VanKuren, D. Massardo and M. R. Kronforst. 2023. aristaless1 has a dual role in appendage formation and wing color specification during butterfly development. BMC Biology 21: 100. bioRxiv preprint

Bayala, E. X., I. Cisneros, D. Massardo, N. W. VanKuren and M. R. Kronforst. 2022. Divergent expression of aristaless1 and aristaless2 is associated with embryonic appendage and pupal wing development in butterflies. bioRxiv 2022.09.28.509918. bioRxiv preprint

Bayala, E., N. VanKuren, D. Massardo and M. R. Kronforst. 2021. From the formation of embryonic appendages to the color of wings: Conserved and novel roles of aristaless1 in butterfly development. . bioRxiv preprint

Westerman, E., N. VanKuren, D. Massardo, A. Tenger-Trolander, W. Zhang, R. I. Hill, M. Perry, E. Bayala, K. Barr, N. Chamberlain, T. E. Douglas, N. Buerkle, S. E. Palmer and M. R. Kronforst. 2018. Aristaless controls butterfly wing color variation used in mimicry and mate choice. Current Biology 28: 3469-3474.  ScienceDaily  Futurity

Mazo-Vargas, A., C. Concha, L. Livraghi, D. Massardo, R. W. R. Wallbank, L. Zhang, J. D. Papador, D. Martinez-Najera, C. D. Jiggins, M. R. Kronforst, C. J. Breuker, R. D. Reed, N. H. Patel, W. O. McMillan and A. Martin. 2017. Macro-evolutionary shifts of WntA function potentiate butterfly wing pattern diversity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 114: 10701−10706. Nature News & Views  Washington Post  NY Times  Science Magazine  The Atlantic

Li, X., D. Fan, W. Zhang, G. Liu, L. Zhang, L. Zhao, X. Fang, L. Chen, Y. Dong, Y. Chen, Y. Ding, R. Zhao, M. Feng, Y. Zhu, Y. Feng, X. Jiang, D. Zhu, H. Xiang, X. Feng, S. Li, J. Wang, G. Zhang, M. R. Kronforst and W. Wang. 2015. Outbred genome sequencing and CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing in butterflies.  Nature Communications 6: 8212.  IGTRCN