Exploring the Role of Insulin Signaling in Relative Growth: A Case Study on Wing-Body Scaling in Lepidoptera.
Adult forms emerge from the relative growth of the body and its parts. Each appendage and organ has a unique pattern of growth that influences the size and shape it attains. This produces adult size relationships referred to as static allometries, which have received a great amount of attention in evolutionary and developmental biology. However, many questions remain unanswered, for example: What sorts of developmental processes coordinate growth? And how do these processes change given variation in body size? It has become increasingly clear that nutrition is one of the strongest influences on size relationships. In insects, nutrition acts via insulin/TOR signaling to facilitate inter- and intra-specific variation in body size and appendage size. Yet, the mechanism by which insulin signaling influences the scaling of growth remains unclear. Here we will discuss the potential roles of insulin signaling in wing-body scaling in Lepidoptera. We analyzed the growth of wings in animals reared on different diet qualities that induce a range of body sizes not normally present in our laboratory populations. By growing wings in tissue culture, we survey how perturbation and stimulation of insulin/TOR signaling influences wing growth. To conclude, we will discuss the implications of our findings for the development and evolution of organismal form.
McKenna, KZ; Tao, D; Nijhout, HF
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