Changes is genes coding for laccases 1 and 2 may contribute to deformation and reduction of wings in apollo butterfly (Parnassius apollo, Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) from the isolated population in Pieniny National Park (Poland).
AbstractAn isolated population of apollo butterfly (Parnassius apollo, Lepidoptera: Papilionidae) occurs in Pieniny National Park (Poland). Deformations and reductions of wings in a relatively large number of individuals from this population is found, yet the reasons for these defects are unknown. During studies devoted to identify cause(s) of this phenomenon, we found that specific regions of genes coding of enzymes laccases 1 and 2 could not be amplified from DNA samples isolated from large fractions of malformed insects while expected PCR products were detected in almost all (with one exception) normal butterflies. Laccases (p-diphenol:dioxygen oxidoreductases) are oxidases containing several copper atoms. They catalyse single-electron oxidations of phenolic or other compounds with concomitant reduction of oxygen to water. In insects, their enzymatic activities were found previously in epidermis, midgut, Malpighian tubules, salivary glands, and reproductive tissues. Therefore, we suggest that defects in genes coding for laccases might contribute to deformation and reduction of wings in apollo butterflies, though it seems obvious that deficiency in these enzymes could not be the sole cause of these developmental improperties in P. apollo from Pieniny National Park.
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