Epigenetic Molecular Mechanisms in Insects

Villagra, C; Frías-Lasserre, D

Keywords: Methylation, ncRNAs, HDAC, HAT, polyphenism, eusociality


Insects are the largest animal group on Earth both in biomass and diversity. Their outstanding success has inspired genetics and developmental research, allowing the discovery of dynamic process explaining extreme phenotypic plasticity and canalization. Epigenetic molecular mechanisms (EMMs) are vital for several housekeeping functions in multicellular organisms, regulating developmental, ontogenetic trajectories and environmental adaptations. In Insecta, EMMs are involved in the development of extreme phenotypic divergences such as polyphenisms and eusocial castes. Here, we review the history of this research field and how the main EMMs found in insects help to understand their biological processes and diversity. EMMs in insects confer them rapid response capacity allowing insect either to change with plastic divergence or to keep constant when facing different stressors or stimuli. EMMs function both at intra as well as transgenerational scales, playing important roles in insect ecology and evolution. We discuss on how EMMs pervasive influences in Insecta require not only the control of gene expression but also the dynamic interplay of EMMs with further regulatory levels, including genetic, physiological, behavioral, and environmental among others, as was earlier proposed by the Probabilistic Epigenesis model and Developmental System Theory.

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Título de la Revista: Neotropical Entomology
Volumen: 49
Editorial: Springer
Fecha de publicación: 2020
Página de inicio: 615
Página final: 642
Idioma: English
URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13744-020-00777-8