Early patterning and blastodermal fate map of the head in the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus


Author for correspondence (email: ariel.chipman@huji.ac.il)


The process of head development in insects utilizes a set of widely conserved genes, but this process and its evolution are not well understood. Recent data from Tribolium castaneum have provided a baseline for an understanding of insect head development. However, work on a wider range of insect species, including members of the hemimetabolous orders, is needed in order to draw general conclusions about the evolution of head differentiation and regionalization. We have cloned and studied the expression and function of a number of candidate genes for head development in the hemipteran Oncopeltus fasciatus. These include orthodenticle, empty spiracles, collier, capncollar, and crocodile. The expression patterns of these genes show a broad conservation relative to Tribolium, as well as differences from Drosophila indicating that Tribolium + Oncopeltus represent a more ancestral pattern. In addition, our data provide a blastodermal fate map for different head regions in later developmental stages and supply us with a “roadmap” for future studies on head development in this species.