Department of Ecology & Evolution

Kronforst Lab Kronforst Lab
Molecular Ecology    Evolution    Evolution    PNAS    Pigment Cell & Melanoma
GBE    University of Chicago    Cell    Nature    Genetics
  • Westerman, E. L., R. Letchinger, A. Tenger-Trolander, D. Massardo, D. Palmer, M. R. Kronforst. Does male preference play a role in maintaining female limited polymorphism in a Batesian mimetic butterfly? Behavioural Processes, 2018
  • VanKuren, N. W and M. Long. Gene duplicates resolving sexual conflict rapidly evolved essential gametogenesis Functions. Nature Ecology and Evolution, 2018. Science Daily  Science Newsline
  • Rossato, D.O., D. Boligon, R. Fornel, M. R. Kronforst, G. L. Gonçalves, G. R. P. Moreira. Subtle variation in size and shape of the whole forewing and the red band among co- mimics revealed by geometric morphometric analysis in Heliconius butterflies. Ecology and Evolution, 2018.
  • Mazo-Vargas, A., C. Concha, L. Livraghi, D. Massardo, R. Wallbank, L. Zhang, J. Papador, D. Martinez-Najera, C. Jiggins, M. Kronforst, C. Breuker, R. Reed, N. Patel, W. McMillan, A. Martin. Macro-evolutionary shifts of WntA function potentiate butterfly wing pattern diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017. Nature News & Views  Washington Post  NY Times  Science Magazine  The Atlantic
  • Southcott, L and M. R. Kronforst. 2017. Female mate choice is a reproductive isolating barrier in Heliconius butterflies. bioRxiv, doi:
  • Zhang, W., E. Westerman, E. Nitzany, S. Palmer and M. R. Kronforst. 2017 Tracing the origin and evolution of supergene mimicry in butterflies. 2017. Nature Communications 8: 1269. The Forefront  Daily Mail  The Seeker  PBS News Hour
  • Nallu, S., J. Hill, K. Don, C. Sahagun, W. Zhang, C. Meslin, E. Snell-Rood, N. Clark, N. Morehouse, J. Bergelson, C. Wheat and M. R. Kronforst. 2017. The molecular genetic basis of herbivory between butterflies and their host-plants. bioRxiv, doi:
  • Southcott, L. and M. R. Kronforst. 2017. A neutral view of the evolving genomic architecture of speciation. Ecology and Evolution 7:6358-636.
  • Zhang, W, K. K. Dasmahapatra, J. Mallet, G. R. P. Moreira and M. R. Kronforst. 2016. Genome-wide introgression among distantly related Heliconius butterfly species. Genome Biology 17: 25.
  • 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.
  • Kronforst, M. R. and R. Papa. 2015. The functional basis of wing patterning in Heliconius butterflies: the molecules behind mimicry. Genetics 200: 1-19.
  • Kronforst, M. R. 2015. Exploring the molecular basis of monarch butterfly color pattern variation. Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 28: 127-130.
  • Palmer, D. and M. R. Kronforst. 2015. Divergence and gene flow among Darwin's finches: A genome-wide view of adaptive radiation driven by interspecies allele sharing. BioEssays 37: 968-974.
  • Zhan, S., W. Zhang, K. Niitepold, J. Hsu, J. F. Haeger, M. P. Zalucki, S. Altizer, J. C. de Roode, S. M. Reppert and M. R. Kronforst. 2014. The genetics of monarch butterfly migration and warning colouration. Nature 514: 317-321.
    Nature News & Views, Science Magazine, NY Times, National Geographic, Washington Post, NBC News
  • Kunte, K., W. Zhang, A. Tenger-Trolander, D. H. Palmer, A. Martin, R. D. Reed, S. P. Mullen and M. R. Kronforst. 2014. doublesex is a mimicry supergene. Nature 507: 229-232.
    Nature News & Views, Nature magazine, Science magazine, NY Times, LA Times, University of Chicago
  • Pierce, A. A., M. P. Zalucki, M. Bangura, M. Udawatta, M. R. Kronforst, S. Altizer, J. F. Haeger and J. C. de Roode. 2014. Serial founder effects and genetic differentiation during worldwide range expansion of monarch butterflies. Proc. R. Soc. B 281: 20142230.
  • Gallant, J. R, V. E. Imhoff, A. Martin, W. K. Savage, N. L. Chamberlain, B. L. Pote, C. Peterson, G. E. Smith, B. Evans, R. D. Reed, M. R. Kronforst and S. P Mullen. 2014. Ancient homology underlies adaptive mimetic diversity across butterflies. Nature Communications 5: 4817.
  • Arias, C. F., C. Salazar, C. Rosales, M. R. Kronforst, M. Linares, E. Bermingham and W. O. McMillan. 2014. Phylogeography of Heliconius cydno and its closest relatives: disentangling their origin and diversification. Mol. Ecol. 23: 4137-4152.
  • Massardo, D., R. Fornel, M. R. Kronforst, G. L. Goncalves and G. R. Moreira. 2015. Diversification of the silverspot butterflies (Nymphalidae) in the Neotropics inferred from multi-locus DNA sequences. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 82: 156-165.
  • Pierce, A. A., S. Altizer, N. L. Chamberlain, M. R. Kronforst and J. C. de Roode. 2015. Unraveling the mysteries of monarch migration and global dispersal through molecular genetic techniques. In: Monarchs in a Changing World: Biology and Conservation of an Iconic Insect. Cornell University Press.
  • Barão, K. R., G. L. Gonçalves, O. H. H. Mielke, M. R. Kronforst and G. R. P. Moreira. 2014. Species boundaries in Philaethria butterflies: an integrative taxonomic analysis based on genitalia ultrastructure, wing geometric morphometrics, DNA sequences and AFLPs. Zoological Journal Linnean Society. doi: 10.1111/zoj.12118
  • Kronforst, M. R., M. E. B. Hansen, N. G. Crawford, J. R. Gallant, W. Zhang, R. J. Kulathinal, D. D. Kapan and S. P. Mullen. 2013. Hybridization reveals the evolving genomic architecture of speciation. Cell Reports 5: 666-677.
    Science Magazine, The Economist, LA Times, Cell Reports Best of 2013, University of Chicago
  • Westerman, E.L., Chirathivat, N., Schyling, E., Monteiro, A. (2014) Mate preference for a phenotypically plastic trait is learned, and may facilitate preference-phenotype matching. Evolution 68(6) 1661-1670. Doi: 10.1111/evo.12381
  • Westerman, E.L., Drucker, C.B., Monteiro, A. (2014) Male and female mating behavior is dependent on social context in the butterfly Bicyclus anynana. Journal of Insect Behavior 27(4) 478-495. Doi: 10.1007/s10905-014-9441-9
  • Westerman, E. L and A. Monteiro. 2013. Odour influences whether females learn to prefer or avoid wing patterns of male butterflies. Animal Behaviour 86: 1139-1145.
  • Buss, L. W., C. Anderson, E. L. Westerman, C. Kritzberger, M. Poudyal, M. Moreno and F. Lakkis. 2012. Allorecognition triggers autophagy and subsequent necrosis in the cnidarian Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus. PLoS ONE 7: e48914.
  • Zhang W., K. Kunte and M. R. Kronforst. 2013. Genome-wide characterization of adaptation and speciation in tiger swallowtail butterflies using de novo transcriptome assemblies. Genome Biology & Evolution 5: 1233–1245.
  • Smith, J. and M. R. Kronforst. 2013. Do Heliconius butterfly species exchange mimicry alleles? Biology Letters 9: 20130503.
  • Hill, R. I., L. E. Gilbert and M. R. Kronforst. 2013. Cryptic genetic and wing pattern diversity in a mimetic Heliconius butterfly. Molecular Ecology 22: 2760-2770.
  • 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.
  • Massardo, D., P. A. Roratto, H. A. Vargas, M. R. Kronforst and G. R. P. Moreira. 2012. Development of a microsatellite library for the passion flower butterfly Dione moneta Hübner (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae). Conservation Genetics Resources 4: 719-724.
  • Heliconius Genome Consortium. 2012. Butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species. Nature 487: 94-98.
    Harvard Gazette
  • Kronforst, M. R. 2012. Mimetic butterflies introgress to impress. PLoS Genetics 8: e1002802.
  • Kronforst, M. R., G. S. Barsh, A. Kopp, J. Mallet, A. Monteiro, S. P. Mullen, M. Protas, E. B. Rosenblum, C. J. Schneider and H. E. Hoekstra. 2012. Unraveling the thread of nature’s tapestry: the genetics of diversity and convergence in animal pigmentation. Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research 25: 411-433.
  • Hill, R.I., M. Elias, K. K. Dasmahapatra, C. D. Jiggins, V. Koong, K. R. Willmott and J. Mallet. 2012. Ecologically relevant cryptic species in the highly polymorphic Amazonian butterfly Mechanitis mazaeus sensu lato (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae; Ithomiini). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 106: 540-560.
  • Hines H. M., B. A. Counterman, R. Papa, P. Albuquerque de Moura, M. Z. Cardoso, M. Linares, J. Mallet, R. D. Reed, C. D. Jiggins, M. R. Kronforst and W. O. McMillan. 2011. Wing patterning gene redefines the mimetic history of Heliconius butterflies. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108: 19666-19671.
  • Kunte, K., C. Shea, M. L. Aardema, J. M. Scriber, T. E. Juenger, L. E. Gilbert and M. R. Kronforst. 2011. Sex chromosome mosaicism and hybrid speciation among tiger swallowtail butterflies. PLoS Genetics 7: e1002274.
    Harvard Gazette, UT Austin, NSF
  • Chamberlain, N. L., R. I. Hill, S. W. Baxter, C. D. Jiggins and M. R. Kronforst. 2011. Comparative population genetics of a mimicry locus among hybridizing Heliconius butterfly species. Heredity 107: 200-204.
  • Douglas, T. E., M. R. Kronforst, D. C. Queller and J. E. Strassmann. 2011. Genetic diversity in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum: population differentiation and cryptic species. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 60: 455-462.
  • Joron, M., L. Frezal, R. T. Jones, N. L. Chamberlain, S. F. Lee, C. R. Haag, A. Whibley, M. Becuwe, S. W. Baxter, L. Ferguson, P. A. Wilkinson, C. Salazar, C. Davidson, R. Clark, M. A. Quail, H. Beasley, R. Glithero, C. Lloyd, S. Sims, M. C. Jones, J. Rogers, C. D. Jiggins, R. H. ffrench-Constant. 2011. Chromosomal rearrangements maintain a polymorphic supergene controlling butterfly mimicry. Nature 477: 203–206
  • Reed, R. D., R. Papa, A. Martin, H. M. Hines, B. A. Counterman, C. Pardo-Diaz, C. D. Jiggins, N. L. Chamberlain, M. R. Kronforst, R. Chen, G. Halder, H. F. Nijhout, and W. O. McMillan. 2011. optix drives the repeated convergent evolution of butterfly wing pattern mimicry. Science 333: 1137-1141.
    Perspective article by Sean Carroll
  • Merrill, R. M, Z. Gompert, L. M. Dembeck, M. R. Kronforst, W. O. McMillan and C. D. Jiggins. 2011. Mate preference across the speciation continuum in a clade of mimetic butterflies. Evolution 65: 1489-1500.
  • Albuquerque de Moura, P., S. P. Quek, M. Z. Cardoso and M. R. Kronforst. 2011. Comparative population genetics of mimetic Heliconius butterflies in an endangered habitat; Brazil’s Atlantic forest. BMC Genetics 12: 9.
    Commentary by Legrand et al.
  • Quek, S. P., B. A. Counterman, P. Albuquerque de Moura, M. Z. Cardoso, C. R. Marshall, W. O. McMillan and M. R. Kronforst. 2010. Dissecting comimetic radiations in Heliconius reveals divergent histories of convergent butterflies. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 107: 7365-7370.
  • DeVries, P., C. Penz, R.I. Hill. 2010. Vertical distribution, flight behavior, and evolution of wing morphology in Morpho butterflies. Journal of Animal Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2010.01710.x
  • Baxter, S. W., N. Nadeau, L. Maroja, P. Wilkinson, B. Counterman, A. Dawson, M. Beltran, S. Perez-Espona, N. Chamberlain, L. Ferguson, R. Clark, C. Davidson, R. Glithero, J. Mallet, W. O. McMillan, M. R. Kronforst, M. Joron, R. H. ffrench-Constant and C. D. Jiggins. 2010. Genomic hotspots for adaptation: the population genetics of Müllerian mimicry in the Heliconius melpomene clade. PLoS Genetics 6(2): e1000794. [Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Biology].
  • Mehdiabadi, N. J., M. R. Kronforst, D. C. Queller and J. E. Strassmann. 2010. Phylogeography and sexual macrocyst formation in the social amoeba Dictyostelium giganteum.  BMC Evol. Biol. 10: 17.
  • Ferguson, L., S. F. Lee, N. Chamberlain, N. Nadeau, M. Joron, S. Baxter, P. Wilkinson, A. Papanicolaou, S. Kumar, T-J. Kee, R. Clark, C. Davidson, R. Glithero, H. Beasley, H. Vogel, R. ffrench-Constant and C. Jiggins. 2010. Characterization of a hotspot for mimicry: assembly of a butterfly wing transcriptome to genomic sequence at the HmYb/Sb locus. Mol. Ecol. 19 (S1): 240-254.
  • Dasmahapatra, K., M. Elias, R. I. Hill, J. Hoffman and J. Mallet. 2010. Mitochondrial DNA barcoding detects some species that are real, and some that are not.  Molecular Ecology Resource 10: 264-273. DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-0998.2009.02763.x.
  • Tiple, A., D. Agashe, A. M. Khurad and K. Kunte.  2009. Population dynamics and seasonal polyphenism of Chilades pandava butterfly (Lycaenidae) in central India. Current Science 97: 1774-1779.
  • Chamberlain, N. L.*, R. I. Hill*, D. D. Kapan, L. E. Gilbert and M. R. Kronforst. 2009. Polymorphic butterfly reveals the missing link in ecological speciation. Science 326: 847-850. *contributed equally to this work
    An NSF audio slideshow, Harvard Gazette, UT Austin
  • Hill, R. I. 2009. Habitat segregation among mimetic ithomiine butterflies (Nymphalidae).  Evolutionary Ecology 24: 273-285. DOI: 10.1007/s10682-009-9305-5.
  • Kunte, K. 2009. Female-limited mimetic polymorphism: A review of theories and a critique of sexual selection as balancing selection. Animal Behaviour 78: 1029-1036.
  • Kunte, K. 2009. The diversity and evolution of Batesian mimicry in Papilio swallowtail butterflies. Evolution 63: 2707-2716.
  • Mehdiabadi, N. J., M. R. Kronforst, D. C. Queller and J. E. Strassmann. 2009. Phylogeny, reproductive isolation and kin recognition in the social amoeba Dictyostelium purpureum. Evolution 63: 542-548.
  • Greeney, H. F., R. I. Hill, M. R. Hualinga-L, W. R. Simbaña and G. Gentry. 2009. The immature stages and natural history of Veladryis pardalis (Salvin, 1869) in eastern Ecuador (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae: Ithomiinae).  Journal of Insect Science 9: 35.
  • Larsen, T. B., R. I. Vane-Wright, K. Kunte and V. Nazari. 2009. Case 3488. Papilio danae Fabricius, 1775 (currently Colotis danae; Insecta, Lepidoptera, Pieridae): proposed conservation of prevailing usage by the suppression of Papilio danae Hufnagel, 1766. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 66: 250-255.
  • Kunte, K. and U. Manthey. 2009. Rediscovery of Japalura sagittifera (Sauria: Agamidae) from the Eastern Himalayas, Arunachal Pradesh: An addition to the Indian herpetofauna. Sauria 31: 49-55.
  • Jiggins, C., S. Baxter, O. McMillan, N. Chamberlain and R. H. ffrench-Constant. 2009. Prospects for locating adaptive genes in lepidopteran genomes: a case study of butterfly colour patterns. In: Lepidopteran Molecular Biology and Genetics. Eds. Marian Goldsmith and Frantisek Marec. CRC press.
  • Kronforst, M. R. and L. E. Gilbert. 2008. The population genetics of mimetic diversity in Heliconius butterflies.  Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 275: 493-500 [Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Biology].
  • Kronforst, M. R., D. C. Giley, J. E. Strassmann and D. C. Queller. 2008. DNA methylation is widespread across social Hymenoptera.  Current Biology 18: R287-R288.
  • Kronforst, M. R. 2008. Gene flow persists millions of years after speciation in Heliconius butterflies.  BMC Evol. Biol. 8: 98 [Highly Accessed].
  • Salazar, C., C. D. Jiggins, J. E. Taylor, M. R. Kronforst and M. Linares. 2008. Gene flow and the genealogical history of Heliconius heurippa.  BMC Evol. Biol. 8: 132 [Highly Accessed].
  • Baxter, S. W., R. Papa, N. Chamberlain, S. J. Humphray, M. Joron, R. H. ffrench-Constant, W. O. McMillan and C. D. Jiggins. 2008. Parallel evolution in the genetic basis of Müllerian mimicry in Heliconius butterflies. Genetics 180: 1567-1577.
  • Papa, R., C. M. Morrison, J. R. Walters,  B. A. Counterman, R. Chen, G. Halder, L. Ferguson,  N. Chamberlain, R. ffrench-Constant, D. D. Kapan, C. D. Jiggins, R. D. Reed and W. O. McMillan. 2008. Highly conserved gene order and numerous novel repetitive elements in genomic regions linked to wing pattern variation in Heliconius butterflies. BMC Genomics 9: 345 [Highly Accessed].
  • Kronforst, M. R., C. Salazar, M. Linares and L. E. Gilbert. 2007. No genomic mosaicism in a putative hybrid butterfly species.  Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B. 274: 1255-1264.
  • Kronforst, M. R., P. J. Folgarait, R. J. W. Patrock and L. E. Gilbert. 2007. Genetic differentiation between body size biotypes of the parasitoid fly Pseudacteon obtusus (Diptera: Phoridae).  Mol. Phylo. Evol.  43: 1178-1184.
  • Kronforst, M. R., L. G. Young and L. E. Gilbert. 2007. Reinforcement of mate preference among hybridizing Heliconius butterflies. J. Evol. Biol. 20: 278-285.
  • Kronforst, M. R., D. D. Kapan and L. E. Gilbert. 2006. Parallel genetic architecture of parallel adaptive radiations in Heliconius butterflies. Genetics 174: 535-539.
  • Kronforst, M. R., L. G. Young, L. M. Blume and L. E. Gilbert. 2006. Multilocus analyses of admixture and introgression among hybridizing Heliconius butterflies. Evolution 60: 1254-1268 [Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Biology].
  • Kronforst, M. R., L. G. Young, D. D. Kapan, C. McNeely, R. J. O’Neill and L. E. Gilbert. 2006. Linkage of butterfly mate preference and wing color preference cue at the genomic location of wingless. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 6575-6580 [Recommended by Faculty of 1000 Biology].
  • Kronforst, M. R. 2005. Primers for the amplification of nuclear introns in Heliconius butterflies. Mol. Ecol. Notes 5: 158-162.
  • Kronforst, M. R. and T. H. Fleming. 2001. Lack of genetic differentiation among widely spaced subpopulations of a butterfly with home range behaviour.  Heredity 86: 243-250.


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