The object of study of the research group are the mechanisms that regulate the metamorphosis of insects , and how these mechanisms have evolved from ancestral species, with a gradual metamorphosis (like in cockroaches or locusts), to the most modified species, with a discontinuous metamorphosis (like in butterflies or flies). Therefore, the questions that the research group on the Evolution of insect metamorphosis seek to answer are: How did metamorphosis develop in insects? What endocrine and molecular mechanisms led to the evolutionary transition from gradual to discontinuous metamorphosis?
Lab website: Bellés Lab
Ylla, G; Piulachs, M.D; Belles, X. 2018. Clues about the evolution of insect metamorphosis revealed by comparative transcriptomics of hemimetabolan and holometabolan species. iScience (Cell Press). 4:164–179 doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2018.05.017.
Rubio, M.; Maestro, J.L., Piulachs, M.D.; Belles, X. (2018) Conserved association of Argonaute 1 and 2 proteins with miRNA and siRNA pathways throughout insect evolution, from cockroaches to flies. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms. 1861(6):554-560 doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2018.04.001
Llonga N.; Ylla G.; Bau J.; Belles X.; Piulachs M.-D. 2018. Diversity of piRNA expression patterns during the ontogeny of the German cockroach. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution. 330(5):288-295 doi: 10.1002/jez.b.22815
Jongepier E.; Kemena C.; Lopez-Ezquerra A.; Belles X.; Bornberg-Bauer E.; Korb J. 2018. Remodeling of the juvenile hormone pathway through caste-biased gene expression and positive selection along a gradient of termite eusociality. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution. 330(5):296-304 doi: 10.1002/jez.b.22805