Magic embryology: gene controls in insects (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Thursday, May 25, 2023, 18:16 (385 days ago) @ David Turell

A precise few:

"A new study published on eLife and led by the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE, CSIC-UPF) and the IRB Barcelona, has revealed that the Chinmo gene is responsible for establishing the juvenile stage in insects. It also confirms that the Br-C and E93 genes play a regulatory role in insect maturity. These genes, which are also present in humans, act as a promoter and as a suppressor, respectively, of cancerous processes.

"The results of the research, which was carried out with the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the cockroach Blatella germanica, reveal that these genes have been conserved throughout the evolution of insects. Therefore, it is believed that they could play a key role in the evolution of metamorphosis.

"Insects that undergo complete metamorphosis, such as flies, go through the following three stages of development: the embryo, which is formed inside the egg; the larva (juvenile stage), which grows in several phases; and the pupa, which is the stage that encompasses metamorphosis and the formation of the adult organism.

"Previous studies had discovered that the Br-C gene determines pupal formation in insects. In 2019, the same IBE team that has led this study described the essential function of E93 to complete metamorphosis in insects and initiate the maturation of the tissues that go on to form the adult. However, the gene responsible for determining the juvenile stage was unknown until now. This study has now identified the Chimno gene as the main precursor of this stage in insects.

"By deleting the Chinmo gene in Drosophila specimens, the scientists observed that these insects progressed to the pupal stage without completing the juvenile stage, moving to the adult stage early. These findings thus confirm that Chinmo is essential for juvenile development.


"...the study concludes that the Chinmo gene has to be inactivated for Drosophila to progress from the juvenile to the pupal stage and to carry out metamorphosis successfully. Likewise, it confirms that the sequential action of the three genes, namely Chinmo, Br-C, and E93, during the larval, pupal, and adult stages, respectively, coordinate the formation of the different organs that form the adult organism.


"'Understanding the molecular functioning of cell growth can help to better comprehend cancer processes. Healthy cells grow, differentiate, and mature. In contrast, cancer cells grow uncontrollably, do not differentiate, and fail to mature. So determining the role of Chinmo, Br-C, and E93 may be key to future clinical research," says Dr. Jordi Casanova, an IRB Barcelona researcher and co-author of the study.

"The study shows that while Chinmo is an oncogenic precursor because it promotes tissue growth and prevents differentiation, C-Br and E93 serve as tumor suppressors by activating tissue maturation.


"'Analyzing the function of these genes in different species of insects allows us to observe how evolution works. The observation that Chinmo function is conserved in insects as evolutionarily separated as flies and cockroaches gives us clues as to how metamorphoses originated," explains Dr. David Martin, a researcher at the IBE (CSIC-UPF) who co-led the study."

Comment: this study, like most others, shows the genetic continuity in evolution of controlling genes. But this is the surface. We still don't know how genes create their controls.

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