Rare genetic mutation in butterflies and birds creates exquisite beauty

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Evolution is a complex process involving genetic mutation, inherited characteristics, and environmental influence. Together, they create infinite varieties of living and non-living entities full of mystery and stunning beauty.

In one of nature’s oddest displays of genetic chance, bilateral gynandromorphism is a condition that produces organisms that exhibit “both male and female characteristics.” Although some crabs, lobsters, and birds can display gynandromorphism, this is none more beautifully represented than in butterflies. Gynandromorphism is exquisitely expressed in butterflies because male and female butterflies have uniquely patterned wing designs that clearly illustrates this unique genetic mutation.

Image credit: Burkhard Hinnersmann

Image credit: Burkhard Hinnersmann

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Here are two examples of gynandromorphic birds:

Image credit: Larry P. Ammann

Image credit: Larry P. Ammann

Image credit: DW Maiden

Image credit: DW Maiden

 

 

About Author

Kristian strives to enlighten and entertain readers. In addition to his teaching and editorial responsibilities, he is working on a science-fiction novel that promises not to include exoskeleton suits and anemic aliens floating in mysterious vats of green-tinted goop.

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