Evo Devo

Antibody stain showing aristaless1 (green) expressed during wing scale development in Heliconius cydno.

Evolutionary developmental biology, or evo-devo, is a field of study that focuses on comparative analyses of developmental processes in order to infer how development has evolved. We use the methods of developmental biology–including in situ hybridization, immunohistochemistry, spatial transcriptomics, and imaging–to compare development across species and populations. Much of this work is focused on understanding how specific genes and mutations ultimately generate distinct phenotypes, from the diverse mimetic color patterns of Heliconius and Papilio butterflies to the divergent mate preference behaviors of white and yellow winged Heliconius cydno.

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

VanKuren, N., M. M. Doellman, S. I. Sheikh, D. H. Palmer Droguett, D. Massardo and M. R. Kronforst. 2022. Conserved signaling pathways antagonize and synergize with co-opted doublesex to control development of novel mimetic butterfly wing patterns. bioRxiv 2022.09.20.508752. 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

Mallarino, R., M. Manceau and M. R. Kronforst. 2021. Editorial: Evo-Devo of Color Pattern Formation. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.3389/fevo.2021.727516. Research Topic Home

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  Phys.org

Martin A., R. Papa, N. J. Nadeau, R. I. Hill, B. A. Counterman, G. Halder, C. D. Jiggins, M. R. Kronforst, A. D. Long, W. O. McMillan and R. D. Reed. 2012. Diversification of complex butterfly wing patterns by repeated regulatory evolution of a Wnt ligand.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109: 12632-12637.