Genetics of color polymorphism in the pea aphid, acyrthosiphon pisum

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The genetic basis of color polymorphism is explored in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris) (Homoptera: Sternorrhyncha), in which two color morphs have been described (pink or green). Laboratory crosses and a Mendelian genetic analysis reveal that color polymorphism in pea aphids is determined by a single biallelic locus, which we name colorama, with alleles P and p, pink being dominant to green. The putative genotypes are Pp or PP for pink morphs, and pp for green morphs. This locus is shown to be autosomal. Last, there was no evidence of influence of the direction of the cross on color inheritance, thus showing that cytoplasmic effects and/or maternally-inherited symbionts play no role in the inheritance of color polymorphism in pea aphids. The existence of a simple genetic determinism for color polymorphism in a system in which genetic investigation is possible may facilitate investigations on the physiological and molecular mechanisms of genetically-based color morph variation, and the establishment of a link between this locus and fitness in a range of ecological conditions. © This is an open access paper. We use the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license that permits unrestricted use, provided that the paper is properly attributed.

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Journal of Insect Science

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