Like butterflies, different species of fruit flies decorate their wings with a great diversity of spots and patterns. Digging deep into a single gene that produce pigmentation in the flies, a group led by UW-Madison biologist Sean Carroll has found the molecular switches that control where the pigmentation is deployed. The finding explains how common genes can be controlled to produce the seemingly endless array of patterns, decoration and body architecture found in animals.

Like butterflies, different species of fruit flies decorate their wings with a great diversity of spots and patterns. Digging deep into a single gene that produce pigmentation in the flies, a group led by UW-Madison biologist Sean Carroll has found the molecular switches that control where the pigmentation is deployed. The finding explains how common genes can be controlled to produce the seemingly endless array of patterns, decoration and body architecture found in animals.

Feather Horned Beetle with Long Bushy 'Eyebrows'(Rhipicera femorata) by thefeaturedcreature: Males use their fantastic (hah!) antennae to locate a female feather-horned beetle that’s emitting pheromones which indicate she is ready for mating. Photo by ron_and_beth #Insects #Australia

Feather Horned Beetle with Long Bushy 'Eyebrows'(Rhipicera femorata) by thefeaturedcreature: Males use their fantastic (hah!) antennae to locate a female feather-horned beetle that’s emitting pheromones which indicate she is ready for mating. Photo by ron_and_beth #Insects #Australia

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