Research Topic

Evo-Devo of Color Pattern Formation

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Because of their diversity, visual accessibility, and profound impact on the fitness of organisms in the wild, animal pigment patterns are one of the most fascinating traits found in nature. Although biologists have long studied the ultimate causes underlying pigment patterns (i.e., why they evolve) the ...

Because of their diversity, visual accessibility, and profound impact on the fitness of organisms in the wild, animal pigment patterns are one of the most fascinating traits found in nature. Although biologists have long studied the ultimate causes underlying pigment patterns (i.e., why they evolve) the molecular, genetic, and developmental mechanisms underlying their formation and evolution (i.e., how they are established) are less well understood. In recent years, advances in genomic, molecular, and imaging approaches have opened an exciting opportunity to explore the mechanistic basis of color pattern formation in unprecedented detail.

Do the same genetic/developmental mechanisms underlie similar traits in different animals? Are the same/homologous genes repeatedly used by evolution to achieve the same purpose? What are the mechanisms by which gene regulator complexity is translated through cellular behaviors into specific molecular outcomes? Unlike many other fields, in which the bulk of the research is predominantly carried in a single species, researchers studying the mechanistic basis of color pattern formation capitalize on the strengths of a variety of established and emerging model organisms, representing a wide taxonomic range, providing an excellent framework for addressing these long-standing questions in evolutionary developmental biology and gaining general insights into the molecular processes by which phenotypic diversity is generated.

This Research Topic on the evo-devo of color pattern formation aims to bring together original research papers, perspectives, and reviews showcasing the wide variety of model systems (e.g., insects, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and mammals) and multidisciplinary approaches (e.g. experimental embryology, genomics, modeling, transcriptomics, imaging, etc.) that researchers are taking to study the mechanistic basis of color pattern formation.


Keywords: Pigmentation, Evolutionary Developmental Biology, Patterning, Molecular Mechanisms, Evolutionary Genetics


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