Dr. Austen Barnett’s article on cricket development was recently accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), the second most highly cited research journal.
Here’s a synopsis of “Hox genes limit germ cell formation in the short germ insect Gryllus bimaculatus”:
Early in development, all animals have to separate the cells that become the body, and the cells that become either the sperm or the egg cells, collectively called germ cells. Many of the genes that make germ cells are evolutionary conserved. The Hox genes are also a highly conserved, and largely studied, set of genes that tell animal embryos where to place body parts, such as arms, legs, wings, ribs, etc. Barnett and his colleagues explored the potential role of these Hox genes in making germ cells in development. In this article, they show for the first time that Hox genes also have a new role in making the cells that eventually become the sperm and egg cells in an animal.