Explanatory duality: Science in flies is not Nature in butterflies

Science 7 March 2014: Vol. 343 no. 6175 p. 1055 DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6175.1055-f

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Evolutionary Duality

When ecological divergence involves traits that also contribute to mating behavior, such divergence could lead to rapid reproductive isolation and speciation. However, there are very few experimental demonstrations of such “dual” traits. Chung et al. (p. 1148, published online 13 February) now demonstrate that specific cuticular hydrocarbons are a dual trait that affects both desiccation resistance and mate choice in the widely distributed Australian species Drosophila serrata. These compounds have largely been lost from its rainforest-restricted, desiccation-sensitive, closely related sibling D. birchii.

My comment: Fatty acid metabolism and pheromone production link a single gene to ecological adaptations and species diversity in flies.

My comment to Science magazine was submitted on 3/7/14 and approved and posted on 3/10/14

Ecological variation and adaptations associated with a single gene and with nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled mate choice in flies became meaningful mutations in the regulatory sequences of a single gene in butterflies associated with mimicry.

Evolutionary biology: Sex, lies and butterflies

Has anyone seen experimental evidence that suggests that the molecular mechanisms that enable species diversity are different in flies and butterflies?

Author: James Kohl

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