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Monarch butterfly genome gives clues about slew of migration mysteries

Cross posted from Scientific American’s Observations blog on behalf of Katherine Harmon. The millions of monarchs (Danaus plexippus) that flit on fragile wings from the United States to a particular area of fir forest in Mexico—as far as 4,000 kilometres—are making the journey for the first time. “They have never been to the overwintering sites before and have no relatives to follow,” Stephen Reppert, a neurobiologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said in a prepared statement. So how to do these insects know where to go? “There must be a genetic programme underlying the butterflies’ migratory behavior,” Reppert 


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