Transposable element insertions are associated with Batesian mimicry in the pantropical butterfly Hypolimnas misippus

Orteu, Anna; Kucka, Marek; Gordon, Ian J.; Ng’iru, Ivy ORCID:; van der Heijden, Eva S.M.; Talavera, Gerard; Warren, Ian A.; Collins, Steve; ffrench-Constant, Richard H.; Martins, Dino J.; Chan, Yingguang Frank; Jiggins, Chris D.; Martin, Simon H.. 2024 Transposable element insertions are associated with Batesian mimicry in the pantropical butterfly Hypolimnas misippus. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 41 (3), msae041. 17, pp.

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Hypolimnas misippus is a Batesian mimic of the toxic African Queen butterfly (Danaus chrysippus). Female H. misippus butterflies use two major wing patterning loci (M and A) to imitate three colour morphs of D. chrysippus found in different regions of Africa. In this study, we examine the evolution of the M locus and identify it as an example of adaptive atavism. This phenomenon involves a morphological reversion to an ancestral character that results in an adaptive phenotype. We show that H. misippus has re-evolved an ancestral wing pattern present in other Hypolimnas species, repurposing it for Batesian mimicry of a D. chrysippus morph. Using haplotagging, a linked-read sequencing technology, and our new analytical tool, Wrath, we discover two large transposable element (TE) insertions located at the M locus and establish that these insertions are present in the dominant allele responsible for producing mimetic phenotype. By conducting a comparative analysis involving additional Hypolimnas species, we demonstrate that the dominant allele is derived. This suggests that, in the derived allele, the TEs disrupt a cis-regulatory element, leading to the reversion to an ancestral phenotype that is then utilized for Batesian mimicry of a distinct model, a different morph of D. chrysippus. Our findings present a compelling instance of convergent evolution and adaptive atavism, in which the same pattern element has independently evolved multiple times in Hypolimnas butterflies, repeatedly playing a role in Batesian mimicry of diverse model species.

Item Type: Publication - Article
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UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pollution (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 0737-4038
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
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Date made live: 05 Mar 2024 10:47 +0 (UTC)

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