The large milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus was one of the main study insects for a range of biological questions throughout much of the 20th century. Its importance waned with the introduction of Drosophila melanogaster as a genetic model organism. The evo-devo revolution of the turn of the century re-introduced Oncopeltus into the scientific community, and it has proved increasingly useful, mostly within a comparative context for evolution driven research. The last few years have seen a number of significant contributions to our understanding of the evolution of developmental processes in insects, and in arthropods in general, arise from work on Oncopeltus. This review presents some of the key studies and shows how they have provided new insights into evolutionary questions. The advent of whole genome sequencing and genome editing techniques is reducing the gap between Drosophila and (re-)emerging systems such as Oncopeltus. We expect that the ease of work on Oncopeltus and its pivotal phylogenetic position will contribute to the expansion of its use within the evo-devo community and more broadly in arthropod research.
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- comparative embryology
- extraembryonic membranes
- model organism