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Butterfly History Explored in Phylogenetic Study

An international team led by investigators at the City University of New York examine butterfly evolution in North America and Central America in a paper appearing Monday in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Based on targeted sequencing data spanning 391 genes in 2,244 butterfly species sampled in 118 countries or specimen collections, the researchers put together a phylogeny that places butterfly origins at roughly 100 million years ago. In the process, the researchers also call for the reclassification of three dozen butterfly tribes and link butterfly origins to legume-feeding insects in the Americas. "Our data support the hypothesis that butterflies originated in the Americas in the late Cretaceous, 100 million years after the origin of angiosperms, and that they first fed on legumes," the authors report, noting that "molecular, host plant, and geographic data provided here serve as a baseline for future comparative analyses of butterflies."

The Scan

ChatGPT Does As Well As Humans Answering Genetics Questions, Study Finds

Researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics had ChatGPT answer genetics-related questions, finding it was about 68 percent accurate, but sometimes gave different answers to the same question.

Sequencing Analysis Examines Gene Regulatory Networks of Honeybee Soldier, Forager Brains

Researchers in Nature Ecology & Evolution find gene regulatory network differences between soldiers and foragers, suggesting bees can take on either role.

Analysis of Ashkenazi Jewish Cohort Uncovers New Genetic Loci Linked to Alzheimer's Disease

The study in Alzheimer's & Dementia highlighted known genes, but also novel ones with biological ties to Alzheimer's disease.

Tara Pacific Expedition Project Team Finds High Diversity Within Coral Reef Microbiome

In papers appearing in Nature Communications and elsewhere, the team reports on findings from the two-year excursion examining coral reefs.