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J Hered. 2004 Mar-Apr;95(2):97-102.

Allelic melanism in American and British peppered moths.

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  • 1Department of Biology, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795, USA.


Parallel evolutionary changes in the incidence of melanism are well documented in widely geographically separated subspecies of the peppered moth (Biston betularia). The British melanic phenotype (f. carbonaria) and the American melanic phenotype (f. swettaria) are indistinguishable in appearance, and previous genetic analysis has established that both are inherited as autosomal dominants. This report demonstrates through hybridizations of the subspecies and Mendelian testcrosses of melanic progeny that carbonaria and swettaria are phenotypes produced by alleles (isoalleles) at a single locus. The possibility of close linkage at two loci remains, but the simpler one-locus model cannot be rejected in the absence of contrary evidence.

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