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Developing wings communicate with body only at distinct milestones

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Tubes of fruit flies used in this study/Roberto Keller (IGC).

In fruit flies.

From ScienceDaily:

The development of wings in fruit flies does not progress synchronously with the organism’s development, according to new research. Instead, it is coordinated with the whole body only at distinct ‘milestones’. This study helps explain how an organism facing environmental and physiological perturbations retains the ability to build correct functional organs and tissues in a proportional adult body.

Marisa Oliveira concludes: “With this work we propose a new paradigm for thinking about organ-organ and organ-body coordination during development. We suggest that organisms achieve this coordination not by continuous but rather by discrete communication focused on developmental milestones.”

Christen Mirth adds: “The next challenge is to understand the nature of this communication at milestones.”


Will the next “-ome” we hear about be the “communication-ome”? A system that interpenetrates everything, providing feedback, and “knows” when to update with other systems?

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Update: From Ho-D-Ho down at 8:

News, may I suggest “Communicome”

And for all of the manifold levels of integrated wonders found in the cell (the spliceosome, proteome, genome etc),perhaps we could have an all encompassing –


10 Replies to “Developing wings communicate with body only at distinct milestones

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Semi Related:

    Flexible Wings Are Hard to Make – June 24, 2014
    Excerpt: If the world’s top engineers are struggling to get three soft zones to flex on a landing flap, why would anyone think birds achieved far better performance by blind, unguided processes?

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    related notes:

    Seeing the Natural World With a Physicist’s Lens – November 2010
    Excerpt: Scientists have identified and mathematically anatomized an array of cases where optimization has left its fastidious mark, among them;,, the precision response in a fruit fly embryo to contouring molecules that help distinguish tail from head;,,, In each instance, biophysicists have calculated, the system couldn’t get faster, more sensitive or more efficient without first relocating to an alternate universe with alternate physical constants.

    Criticality in morphogenesis – September 17, 2013
    Excerpt: In many regards, a brief time-lapse video can teach more about embryonic development than any amount of reading. It is hard not to be impressed how a repeatable form reliably emerges despite considerable variation in both genes and environment. While it had been hoped that concepts borrowed from statistical mechanics or the ideas of self-organized criticality could help to create some kind of physics-based theory of development, much of what has been done lies only at the level of metaphor. In a paper just released to ArXiv, William Bialek and his colleagues from Princeton University, have taken their search for the signature of criticality in a more specific direction. They looked at a particular set of transcription factors in Drosophila embryos which control spatiotemporal development. By analyzing fluctuations in the expression levels of these so-called gap genes, they found evidence for critical (fine) tuning in this particular network.

    Development of a fly embryo in real time – video

    Study of complete RNA collection of fruit fly uncovers unprecedented complexity – March 17, 2014
    Excerpt: The paper shows that the Drosophila genome is far more complex than previously suspected and suggests that the same will be true of the genomes of other higher organisms.

    TEDx Video: Flight of the Fruit Fly – October 8, 2013
    Excerpt: (4:50 minute mark of video lists several fascinating high tech ‘accessories’ of the fruit fly, such as a gyroscope)

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    “The brain of a small fruit fly uses energy in the micro-watts for complex flight control and visual information processing to find and fly to food. I don’t think a supercomputer could yet simulate what the fruit fly brain does even while using megawatts of energy. The difference of over ten orders of magnitude and the level of energy used is an indication of just how incredible biological systems are.
    Professor Keiichi Namba, Osaka University

    Experimental Evolution in Fruit Flies (35 years of trying to force fruit flies to evolve in the laboratory fails, spectacularly) – October 2010
    Excerpt: “Despite decades of sustained selection in relatively small, sexually reproducing laboratory populations, selection did not lead to the fixation of newly arising unconditionally advantageous alleles.,,, “This research really upends the dominant paradigm about how species evolve,” said ecology and evolutionary biology professor Anthony Long, the primary investigator.

    Darwin’s Theory – Fruit Flies and Morphology – video

    50 million year old Fruit Fly fossil compared to modern Fruit Fly – picture

    Response to John Wise – October 2010
    Excerpt: A technique called “saturation mutagenesis”1,2 has been used to produce every possible developmental mutation in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster),3,4,5 roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans),6,7 and zebrafish (Danio rerio),8,9,10 and the same technique is now being applied to mice (Mus musculus).11,12 None of the evidence from these and numerous other studies of developmental mutations supports the neo-Darwinian dogma that DNA mutations can lead to new organs or body plans–because none of the observed developmental mutations benefit the organism.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    Will the next “-ome” we hear about be the “communication-ome”? A system that interpenetrates everything, providing feedback, and “knows” when to update with other systems?

    Some evidences seem to point at such an elaborate system or complex set of interrelated mechanisms. I like your name suggestion.

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    “The next challenge is to understand the nature of this communication at milestones.”

    Assuming that also includes, in addition to the communication part, understanding what sets those milestones, how they are set, what determines their timing, etc. Piece of cake. Probably the 3rd. way folks will try hard to find out how those elaborate choreographic mechanisms appeared, if the 2nd. way can’t figure it out. Meanwhile, scientists will continue to discover more details about the observed mechanisms in the biological systems.

    BTW, is someone updating the textbooks and online education videos, in order to teach all these changes or at least mention them briefly?

  6. 6
    Mung says:

    Is there no section on the site for Evo-devo? This doesn’t quite seem to fit under cell biology. 🙂

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Monarch butterfly uses magnetic, Sun compasses, study finds – June 24, 2014
    Excerpt: monarchs use a light-dependent, inclination magnetic compass to help them orient southward during migration.,,,
    “Our study shows that monarchs use a sophisticated magnetic inclination compass system for navigation similar to that used by much larger-brained migratory vertebrates such as birds and sea turtles.”
    Monarchs use a time-compensated sun compass in their antenna to help them make their 2,000 mile migratory journey to overwintering sites.,,,
    Using flight simulators equipped with artificial magnetic fields, Patrick Guerra, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Reppert lab, examined monarch flight behavior under diffuse white light conditions. He found that tethered monarchs in the simulators oriented themselves in a southerly direction. Further tests in the simulator revealed that the butterflies used the inclination angle of Earth’s magnetic field to guide their movement. Reversing the direction of the inclination caused the monarchs to orient in the opposite direction, to the north instead of the south.
    To test the light-dependence of the monarch’s magnetic compass, Dr. Guerra applied a series of wavelength blocking filters to the lights in the simulator.,,,
    These tests showed that the monarch’s magnetic compass, and thus directional flight, was (also) dependent on exposure to light wavelengths (380nm to 420nm),,
    Together, these results provide the first demonstration that the monarch butterfly uses a light-dependent, inclination compass during its long journey. It is also the first evidence of such a navigational tool in a long-distance migratory insect.

  8. 8
    Ho-De-Ho says:

    News, may I suggest “Communicome”

    And for all of the manifold levels of integrated wonders found in the cell (the spliceosome, proteome, genome etc),perhaps we could have an all encompassing –


  9. 9
    Dionisio says:

    The development of a wing is very simple 😉

    The Decapentaplegic (Dpp) signaling pathway is used in many developmental and homeostatic contexts, each time resulting in cellular responses particular to that biological niche. The flexibility of Dpp signaling is clearly evident in epithelial cells of the Drosophila wing imaginal disc. During larval stages of development, Dpp functions as a morphogen, patterning the wing developmental field and stimulating tissue growth. A short time later, however, as wing-epithelial cells exit the cell cycle and begin to differentiate, Dpp is a critical determinant of vein-cell fate. It is likely that the Dpp signaling pathway regulates different sets of target genes at these two developmental time points.
    To identify mechanisms that temporally control the transcriptional output of Dpp signaling in this system, we have taken a gene expression profiling approach. We identified genes affected by Dpp signaling at late larval or early pupal developmental time points, thereby identifying patterning- and differentiation-specific downstream targets, respectively. Conclusions: Analysis of target genes and transcription factor binding sites associated with these groups of genes revealed potential mechanisms by which target-gene specificity of the Dpp signaling pathway is temporally regulated. In addition, this approach revealed novel mechanisms by which Dpp affects the cellular differentiation of wing-veins.

    Developmental Dynamics 243:818–832, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Temporal regulation of Dpp signaling output in the Drosophila wing
    David D. O’Keefe1,
    Sean Thomas2,
    Bruce A. Edgar3 and
    Laura Buttitta4,*
    Article first published online: 21 MAR 2014
    DOI: 10.1002/dvdy.24122
    © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    How cormorants emerge dry after deep dives – June 16, 2014
    Excerpt: It had been known that during dives, a thin insulating layer of air called a “plastron” is trapped by the feathers, meaning that water never comes into direct contact with the skin below the feathers. The team’s analysis now shows that beyond a depth of a few meters — far less than the depth these birds can reach — that plastron collapses, allowing water to penetrate into the feather structures. “It’s an abrupt transition,” says Cohen, the Raymond A. and Helen E. St. Laurent Professor of Chemical Engineering.
    The depth-dependence of this phenomenon had not previously been known. But even after the collapse of the protective air layer, the preen oil changes the energy required to fully wet the feather’s barbs and barbules: In short, the wetting is reversible.
    Consequently, when the birds emerge from the water, “if a feather gets wet, there is no need for it to dry out, in the traditional sense of evaporation,” Cohen says. “It can dry by directly ejecting the water from its structure, as the pressure is reduced as it comes back up from its dive.” The team refers to this as “spontaneous dewetting.”


    The Air You’re Breathing? A Diatom Made That – June 10, 2014
    Excerpt: Diatoms are tiny — five to 10 of them could fit on the head of a pin — but these single-celled algae play an immense role in keeping the planet’s ecosystem working. They’re important mediators of carbon and oxygen cycles, an integral component of marine food webs and the principal cyclers of silica, which constitutes about one-quarter of the Earth’s crust.
    Diatoms incorporate that silica into their beautifully ornamented glass cell walls, whose intricate patterns have captivated researchers for centuries. Diatom species are distinguished largely on the basis of their cell-wall features and, increasingly, differences in their DNA sequences. No one really knows how many different diatoms are out there, but conservative estimates suggest around 100,000 to 200,000 species, making them among the most species-rich lineages of eukaryotes.
    Diatoms – photo gallery

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