Image of the Day: Ectopic Wings

Insect wings may have evolved from multiple origins, say researchers.

The Scientist Staff and The Scientist Staff
Jan 24, 2018

Arrows indicate abnormal wing tissue growths on the abdomen of a Tribolium castaneum beetle following knockdown of the Hox gene abdA.DAVID LINZ AND YOSHINORI TOMOYASU

The evolutionary origins of insect wings have been hotly debated: did they arise from dorsal body wall tissues or leg-related tissues? Researchers at Miami University resolved the debate by manipulating Hox genes—which control early development in animals—in abdominal and leg-associated plates in Tribolium castaneum, a flour beetle. They found that tissue from both dorsal body wall and leg-related structures contribute to wing formation.

D. Linz, Y. Tomoyasu, “Dual evolutionary origin of insect wings supported by an investigation of the abdominal wing serial homologs in Tribolium,” PNAS, doi:10.1073/pnas.1711128115, 2018.