Pop Genetics of Releases

David Green dgreen at sunesi.com
Mon Sep 27 03:08:55 EDT 1999

I'm not taking sides in the debate (largely because I'm entirely ingnorant
of the issues), but recent work on cloned animals (specifically Dolly the
sheep) has shown that mitochondrial DNA is not refelective of the DNA
contained in the nucleus - so I'm afraid the work cited below is out of date
and does not indicate genetic similarity in the various b'flys.

Dr David Green
Paul Cherubini wrote in message <37EAC0BF.4C01 at concentric.net>...
>Anne Kilmer wrote (in response to Jacob Groth):
>> Enormous genetic disruptions [of Monarchs] are taking place [because of
>> releases] and you tell me that it is harmless because it is happening and
because it
>> "delights children".
>Anne, the information below was copied from the Monarch Watch's website:
>                              DNA Variation in Monarch Butterflies
>Brower, A.V.Z. and T.M. Boyce. 1991. Mitochondrial DNA variation in
>Monarch butterflies. Evolution 45(5): 1281-1286
>Andy Brower and Thomas Boyce studied the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of
>Monarch butterflies from the United States, Mexico, and the West Indies
>to see how similar or different their genetic material was.
>They were especially curious about whether the eastern and western
>populations of Monarchs in North America were genetically different; the
>eastern population overwinters in Mexico while the western one
>overwinters in California, and there is no evidence that these two
>populations ever interbreed.
>They looked at variation in mtDNA using restriction enzymes, a technique
>that identifies differences in DNA sequences. If one population, or
>individual, had a small change in its DNA, this technique can reveal
>that change. In some other insect species, studies have found that there
>are big differences in individuals' mtDNA between regional populations,
>and sometimes even within a region.
>To their surprise, Brower and Boyce found almost no variation in any of
>the Monarch populations' mtDNA, including the ones from the WestIndies.
>Using 13 restriction enzymes, they found only two individuals with a
>single difference in one site, and they attribute this difference to a
>single base substitution.
>This level of similarity in the DNA from geographically isolated
>populations is dramatically different from most other studied groups of
>Vertebrates, for example, have differences at 10 times this level while
>other insects show differences in mtDNA even within a population.
>Paul Cherubini, Placerville, California

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