The Atlantic

Scientists Can Now Repaint Butterfly Wings

Thanks to CRISPR, scientists are studying animal evolution in ways that were previously thought to be impossible.
Source: Robert Reed

When the butterfly emerged from its pupa, Robert Reed was stunned. It was a Gulf fritillary—a bright-orange species with a few tigerlike stripes. But this butterfly had no trace of orange anywhere. It was entirely black and silver. “It was the most heavy-metal butterfly I’ve ever seen,” Reed says. “It was amazing to see that thing crawl out of the pupa.”

Reed’s team at Cornell University had created the metal butterfly by deleting just one of its genes, using the revolutionary gene-editing technique known as CRISPR. And by performing the same feat across several butterfly species, the team , known as , controls all kinds of butterfly patterns. Red becomes black. Matte becomes shiny. Another gene, known as , produces even wilder variations

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