A genetic switch controls butterfly colors

©Robert Lawton

How do butterflies get their colors? For one species, a single gene controls whether the spots on their wings are white or yellow. Using gene editing tools, biologists with the University of Chicago found by switching the gene on and off, they could alter the colors of Heliconius cydno, which lives throughout Central and South America. They published their findings in Current Biology.

Click below to see a video describing their research.