Although the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) can be found as far north as Ontario, Canada, it is a tropical species. Monarchs are year round residents in parts of South and Central America and have established stable populations in Africa, Australia, Hawaii, New Zealand and Oceanic Islands. The famed migratory phenomenon that originates in Mexico and extends into Canada appears to be due to a single gene called Collagen IV alpha-1. Those individuals with the gene are capable of long distance migrations that is not possible for those that lack the gene. Evidently, collagen IV alpha-1 contributes to the production of metabolically efficient muscle tissues that convert these tropical sprinters into marathon runners.
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