October 16, 2021

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DNA testing proves that butterfly extinct by human activity is its own species

RIO – Extinct blue butterfly Xerces (researchers confirm by a DNA analysis (Cila Copsi Cersus) Was its own race. He lived in the San Francisco region of the United States, but his existence was destroyed by human activity. It was last seen in the 1940s. The sample for questionable analysis was collected 93 years ago. Since then, the question remains as to whether Jerusalem is its own species or a subspecies of another butterfly found in the western United States.

According to Felix Crew, co-director of the Gruncher Bio-Informatics Center, the study, published in Biological Letters, highlights the importance of conserving insects, and the Field Museum in Chicago, whose collection makes it possible to compare Jersey’s DNA to another species.

“When this butterfly was collected 93 years ago, no one thought to sort out its DNA. That is why we will continue to collect for 100 years for researchers – said the main author of the article in a museum report published on the website “Eurekalert”.

Butterfly collection shows endangered species in the United States Photo: Field Museum

Scientists knew that Jerusalem was extinct as a result of urban development, but until then it was questionable whether it was actually its own species or a sub-population of another common butterfly. So they used a 1928 sample from the museum’s collection and discovered that its DNA was unique enough to be classified as a species.

“Jerusalem blue butterfly is an excellent insect for conservation because we know it was the first insect to be killed by humans in North America,” said Corey More, director of insect collection at Cornell University. – Taking the first steps and removing a part of the abdomen (from the 93-year-old butterfly) was very stressful, but it is kind of inspiring to know that we can answer a question that is almost unanswered. 100 years and there is no other way.

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Felix Grave and Corey-Morey took part in a study that proved that the Jerusalem butterfly is its own species Photo: Field Museum
Felix Grave and Corey-Morey took part in a study that proved that the Jerusalem butterfly is its own species Photo: Field Museum

The researcher explained that although DNA is stable, it can still degenerate over time. Despite this, you can compare several parts of the code to indicate what the original version will look like.

“It’s like you create identical legos structures and then drop them. Individual structures will be broken, but if you look at it all together, you can see the shape of the original structure,” he explained.

Morey stressed how important it is to protect animals without balancing ecosystems and forgetting about pests.

“We are in the middle of what is called the Insect Disaster, and massive insect declines are being detected around the world,” he said. “While not all insects are as attractive as blue butterfly jerseys, they do have a profound effect on the functioning of ecosystems. Many insects are actually at the bottom of keeping many of these ecosystems healthy. .Every loss of an insect has a massive ripple effect on ecosystems.