Paper by Axel Meyer on polymorphism published in Nature Communications
Evolutionary biologist and Hector Fellow Axel Meyer and his team are conducting research on color polymorphism in Midas cichlids.
Polymorphism is the co-occurrence of two or more distinct genetic forms of a species. Since the discovery of this phenomenon by Edmund Brisco Ford, there has been debate about how such discontinuous variation is caused and maintained. The presence of “gold” and “dark” individuals in the Midas cichlid species complex is a particularly striking example of a stable color polymorphism that has been studied for almost half a century.
While most Midas cichlids belong to the "dark morph," about 10% lose melanic pigmentation during their development and transition to a "golden morph." In the course of their research, Meyer and his team were able to identify a gene that is responsible for these structural changes. The name of the gene, Goldentouch, was chosen in reference to King Midas from Greek mythology.
The findings make an important contribution to deciphering the molecular mechanism of morphological color changes. The results thus represent an important milestone in the study of stable polymorphisms.
Congratulations Axel Meyer!