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Butterfly Tattoo  
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Butterfly Tattoo 

University of Buffalo researchers stenciled the silhouette of a butterfly right on the surface of a butterfly wing by using lasers to turn on fluorescent marker genes in a very precise pattern. No butterflies were harmed during the experiment.

"As the laser heats up specific cells on the butterfly wing, genes that sit next to this regulatory sequence get turned on, allowing for specific clusters of cells on the wing to fluoresce," said study leader Antonia Monteiro, now an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Yale University.

The researchers hope to use their new technique to test how certain genes play a role in the development of intricate patterns on butterfly wings. The achievement, detailed in the current issue of the journal BMC Developmental Biology, could also be useful to scientists working on the color patterns of other insects, fish, birds or plants, the researchers say.

---LiveScience Staff

 

 

 

Credit: Credit: D. Ramos, A. Monteiro, University of Buffalo

 

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