Hybrid butterfly created by scientists

Jun 15, 2006

Scottish scientists say a South American butterfly species was created from two different butterflies in an evolutionary process thought impossible.

Study co-author Chris Jiggins of Scotland's University of Edinburgh told National Geographic News the phenomenon was discovered by successfully creating the butterfly in the lab, using "second-hand parts" from two related species.

The researchers say animals are thought usually to evolve in the opposite manner -- when a single species gradually splits into two over many generations.

They told National Geographic News their creation reveals a process called hybrid speciation, in which the genes of two existing species combine to produce a third. The study suggests hybridization may be more important to the evolution of new animals than previously thought.

Hybrids such as the mule -- a cross between a donkey and a horse -- are sterile. But National Geographic News says the butterfly hybrid brought together a combination of genes that allowed it to breed and, therefore, considered a new species.

The team behind the discovery describes how it re-created the black, red, and yellow Heliconius heurippa butterfly in the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Corn co-products from wet milling may be included in pig diets, study shows

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Chimps with higher-ranking moms do better in fights

12 hours ago

For chimpanzees, just like humans, teasing, taunting and bullying are familiar parts of playground politics. An analysis of 12 years of observations of playground fights between young chimpanzees in East ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.