HEMIPTERAN INSECTS AS MODELS FOR UNDERSTANDING SEGMENTATION
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Although segmentation is highly conserved in arthropods, diverse mechanisms underlie segmentation. Pair-rule genes (PRGs) are a group of genes controlling segmentation in Drosophila melanogaster, a holometabolous insect. While Drosophila are long-germ insects, most insects add segments sequentially. Studying the role of PRGs in sequentially-segmenting species will provide a deeper understanding in terms of developmental biology. Here, I studied two such insects: Halyomorpha halys and Oncopeltus fasciatus, hemimetabolous insects in a sister order to Holometabola. I annotated segmentation genes in the Halyomorpha genome and tested its response to RNA interference which I showed to be effective in this species for the first time. I further showed that three orthologs of Drosophila PRGs are present in the Oncopeltus genome and are expressed during stages at which segments are specified. Surprisingly, only one of these orthologs is expressed in a PR-pattern, indicating that PRG expression and function have changed during insect evolution.