The genetic basis of evolutionary change in the sexual communication system of moths
Research report (imported) 2013 - Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology
Female moths attract mates using their pheromones. Any deviation from producing the optimal blend by females, or any tendency to follow a different blend by males, results in reduced mating success and should be selected against. This poses an enigma: in the face of such strong stabilizing selection, how could the different pheromone blends now used by different moth species have evolved? Genetic studies provide a clue: a surprising amount of genetic variation can exist within species, and some of this variation can account for the evolution of differences between species.