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Journals and Conferences
Vertebrate segmentation relies on a mechanism characterized by oscillating gene expression. Whether this mechanism is used by other segmented animals has been controversial. Rigorous proof of cyclic expression during arthropod segmentation has been lacking. We find that the segmentation gene odd-skipped (Tc-odd) oscillates with a two-segment periodicity in… (More)
Most of our knowledge about the mechanisms of segmentation in arthropods comes from work on Drosophila melanogaster. In recent years it has become clear that this mechanism is far from universal, and different arthropod groups have distinct modes of segmentation that operate through divergent genetic mechanisms. We review recent data from a range of… (More)
The eggs of insects are unusual in that they often have bilateral symmetry when they are laid, indicating that both anterior-posterior (AP) and dorsal-ventral (DV) symmetries are broken during oogenesis. The molecular basis of this process is well understood in Drosophila melanogaster, in which symmetry breaking events for both axes depend on the asymmetric… (More)
Phylogenetic analyses imply that multiple engrailed-family gene duplications occurred during hexapod evolution, a view supported by previous reports of only a single engrailed-family gene in members of the grasshopper genus Schistocerca and in the beetle Tribolium castaneum. Here, we report the cloning of a second engrailed-family gene from Schistocerca… (More)
Recent work has revealed striking similarities in the genetic mechanisms underpinning somitogenesis in zebrafish and segmentation in the spider. Could this mean that the bilaterian common ancestor was segmented after all?
The fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, patterns its segments rapidly and simultaneously, via a mechanism that relies on the ability of transcription factors to diffuse between blastoderm nuclei. Ancestral arthropods patterned posterior segments sequentially in a cellular environment, where free diffusion was likely to have been inhibited by the presence of… (More)
A recent paper in BMC Biology reports the first large-scale insertional mutagenesis screen in a non-drosophilid insect, the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum. This screen marks the beginning of a non-biased, 'forward genetics' approach to the study of genetic mechanisms operating in Tribolium.
Recent comparative studies have revealed significant differences in the developmental gene networks operating in three holometabolous insects: the beetle Tribolium castaneum, the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis and the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster. I discuss these differences in relation to divergent and convergent changes in cellular embryology. I… (More)
The Drosophila larval head is evolutionarily derived at the genetic and morphological level. In the beetle Tribolium castaneum, development of the larval head more closely resembles the ancestral arthropod condition. Unlike in Drosophila, a knirps homologue (Tc-kni) is required for development of the antennae and mandibles. However, published Tc-kni data… (More)
The localization of maternal mRNAs during oogenesis plays a central role in axial specification in some insects. Here we describe a polar body-associated asymmetry in maternal transcript distribution in pre-blastoderm eggs of the beetle Tribolium castaneum. Since the position of the polar body marks the future dorsal side of the embryo, we have investigated… (More)