The three anterior-most segments in arthropods contain the ganglia that make up the arthropod brain. These segments, the pre-gnathal segments (PGS), are known to exhibit many developmental differences to other segments, believed to reflect their divergent morphology. We have analyzed the expression and function of the genes involved in the conserved segment-polarity network, including genes from the Wnt and Hedgehog pathways, in the PGS, compared with the trunk segments, in the hemimetabolous insect Oncopeltus fasciatus. Gene function was tested by manipulating expression through RNA interference against components of the two pathways. We show that there are fundamental differences in the expression patterns of the segment polarity genes, in the timing of their expression and in the interactions among them in the process of pre-gnathal segment generation, relative to all other segments. We argue that given these differences, the PGS should not be considered serially homologous to trunk segments. This realization raises important questions about the differing evolutionary ancestry of different regions of the arthropod head.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Lev and Chipman.
- GRN evolution
- gene network analysis