Killing male bacteria is associated with changes in the color of butterflies, Like many poisonous animals, the pattern of orange, white, and black butterflies of the king of Africa shows that predators are poisonous.
Such warning patterns are usually consistent for individuals so that predators learn to avoid them.
However, recent research shows how the population of the African butterfly king (Danaus chrysippus) violates this rule and has a very different warning pattern.
This study shows that the most likely answer is to interact with bacteria that specifically kill male butterflies.
Previous studies have shown that all female butterflies in this East African population have two unusual characteristics: First, they have a new orientation to their chromosomes, where chromosomes that contain genes that control color patterns join one of their sex chromosomes (called ) W-chromosomes). Killing male bacteria is associated with changes in the color of butterflies.
This new chromosome is called neo-W. Second, they are all infected with a bacteria called spiroplasma, which kills all their sons. However, what is not clear is whether these two characteristics are related and whether they can explain the highly variable color patterns that change from season to season.
To answer this, the researchers analyzed the entire sequence of bacterial DNA and female butterfly chromosomes.
This shows that Neo-W chromosomes change color patterns and spread rapidly in the population, supported by male killer bacteria.
However, because bacteria only allow female offspring, it promotes the survival of certain color model genes that are always transmitted from mother to daughter.
Because it is a puzzle for scientists to decide: If all women have the same color gene, why is the population in East Africa so volatile?
The study found that this woman’s color gene had a slight effect, which was reversed by the father’s color gene. Therefore, fathers with different models will produce daughters with different models.
Seasonal fluctuations in wind patterns are believed to affect the subspecies of male immigrants in the region and cause seasonal changes in the color of women.
Although infected hybrid girls always resemble their fathers, they are a genetic deadlock for fathers whose color model genes only last a generation before they are removed. Killing male bacteria is associated with changes in the color of butterflies.
Researchers say: The relatively fast appearance and spread of new chromosomes in combination with a butterfly’s short life cycle enables us to study how microbes change the development of butterflies almost in real time.
Researchers say: We are constantly finding new ways for germs to manipulate their host, and killing men is just one example. They are amazed at the extent to which the evolution of other organisms, even humans, has been influenced by unprecedented strength.