Expression of Core Circadian Clock Genes Unable to Explain Changes in the Photoperiodic Timer Across Latitudinal and Altitudinal Gradients in Wyeomyia smithii
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Photoperiodism is the ability of plants and animals to utilize day length or night length to mitigate seasonal exigencies. The circadian clock allows organisms to organize daily demands. Both process are set by light, and for more than 80 years a functional relationship has been pursued. Previous experiments have revealed, through phenotypic expression, that the daily circadian clock and seasonal photoperiodic timer have evolved independently, yet molecular evidence is lacking. Herein, we use the mosquito, Wyeomyia smithii, to understand the relationship between the photoperiodic response, diapause, and the daily circadian clock. We measured variation in the formal properties of the core circadian clock over a latitudinal and altitudinal gradient which we compare to the critical photoperiod, a measure of diapause, over the same geographic gradient. We found that there is no correlation with any of the formal properties of the core circadian clock and critical photoperiod, indicating independent evolution.