Mechanisms Underlying the Formation and Evolution of Vertebrate Color Patterns

Claudius F. Kratochwil, Ricardo Mallarino

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Vertebrates exhibit a wide range of color patterns, which play critical roles in mediating intra- and interspecific communication. Because of their di-versity and visual accessibility, color patterns offer a unique and fascinating window into the processes underlying biological organization. In this re-view, we focus on describing many of the general principles governing the formation and evolution of color patterns in different vertebrate groups. We characterize the types of patterns, review the molecular and developmental mechanisms by which they originate, and discuss their role in constraining or facilitating evolutionary change. Lastly, we outline outstanding questions in the field and discuss different approaches that can be used to address them. Overall, we provide a unifying conceptual framework among vertebrate sys-tems that may guide research into naturally evolved mechanisms underlying color pattern formation and evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-156
Number of pages22
JournalAnnual review of genetics
StatePublished - Nov 27 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics


  • color patterns
  • coloration
  • pattern formation
  • pigmentation


Dive into the research topics of 'Mechanisms Underlying the Formation and Evolution of Vertebrate Color Patterns'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this