Deciphering the Epargyreus clarus (silver spotted skipper) wing patterning genes
Rivera Miranda, Teomie S.
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Butterfly wing patterns have captivated evolutionary and developmental biologists for decades because of their vast diversity. Studies have focused on the molecular basis of pattern variation in the Nymphalidae, with little effort put toward skippers, family Hesperiidae. This study had two aims: identify the presence of Wnt genes through ISH and pharmacological drug injections, and test differentially expressed genes in three developmental stages, between wing types, and between wing compartments of E. clarus using RNA-sequencing. I hypothesized, that a simple yet modular set of genes was involved in wing pattern development of the skipper, similar to that of nymphalid butterflies and that genes such as WntA and Ubx would be differentially expressed as in nymphalids. ISH confirmed the presence of two Wnt genes and RNA-seq provided evidence of differential expression, suggesting that the genes underlining wing pattern diversity are being shared between these two distantly related families.