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

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.