Compound Eye of Tribolium
Why "Compound Eye" Research?
Much has been learned from studying a small winged insect, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Because of its significance as model system, it is often overlooked that Drosophila is highly specialized. Its maggot like larva is headless. As a consequence, the compound eyes of the adult fly are not formed during development of the embryo, but inside the larva. This distinguishes Drosophila greatly from primitive insects and most animals, where eye development begins in the embryo.
To elucidate the sequence of events that were responsible for the origin of the unique form of Drosophila eye development, we investigate the phylogenetic history as well as the developmental evolution of Drosophila by studying eye development in the primitive insects Tribolium castaneum (a flour beetle) and Schistocerca americana (the American desert locust).
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