We all are fascinated by the beautiful wings of Butterflies which display a wide range of gorgeous colors as well as different magnificent combinations. And according to us, all the credit goes to nature for creating such a wonderful creature. But now, Scientists have claimed that they have mastered the initial steps of adding color to the wings of Butterfly and after some time they will be able to color and design the entire wings of the living butterfly. They said that the coloring and patterning on wings of butterflies are completely governed by the suites of genes. And all this is possible due to the new Crispr-Cas gene-editing technique which can easily delete a gene and can detect what happens inside it.
The two teams of biologists revealed that they have successfully used the gene-editing technique to explore the roles of two master genes that control and manipulate the appearance of the wings of the butterfly.
A team led by Linlin Zhang and Robert D. Reed of Cornell University has discovered a gene named optix which control all the colors of Butterfly’s wings. But when optix is removed from the eggs of Gulf fritillary, the butterflies tend have ghostly black and silver livery. It happens due to the fact that when optix got deleted, melanin (black pigment) was produced by butterfly’s scales instead of usual chestnut color.
Earlier scientists believed that optix was responsible for the brown pigment of butterfly, but through the latest discovery, they got to know that in the absence of optix also a black pigment is produced. But when they deleted the optix of buckeye species of butterfly, they found that its scales turned into a blazing iridescent blue which was really shocking.
Another group of Scientists led by Anyi Mazo-Vargas of Cornell University and Arnaud Martin of George Washington University discovered a gene called WntA which significantly controlled the patterning and designing of the Butterfly’s wings. But the WntA gene had different impacts on different species of butterfly thus indicating that the gen has been adapted many times for the changing patterns of new species of Butterflies.
Crispr-Cas gene-editing editing tool has helped a lot and made the task easier for scientists who wanted to get hold of the colorings and patterns of the wings of the butterfly. Now, researchers can easily manipulate any type of gene on butterfly’s egg and see what exactly happens inside it.