Caleb Benson


Counterman, Brian A.

Committee Member

Nanduri, Bindu

Committee Member

Perkins, Andy

Committee Member

Wang, Ying

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Department of Biological Sciences


Balancing selection refers to the maintenance of multiple phenotypic variants within a population. There are a number of proposed mechanisms explaining the origin and persistence of the evolution and genetics of polymorphisms, but they largely remain unresolved in the specific instances in which they occur. This study aims to identify the genetic basis of a polymorphism in the butterfly, Heliconius doris, which displays four distinct color patterns on the dorsal hindwings of individuals. While Mullerian mimetic theory proposes that phenotypes will converge on a common, aposematic phenotype, this is not the case in Heliconius doris. We identify an interval perfectly associated with the presence/absence of the red ray phenotype, and propose potential mechanisms and genetic architecture through which this polymorphism has been allowed to persist.