Image of the Day: Ectopic Wings

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

Jan 24, 2018
The Scientist Staff

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.