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Identifying transcriptional changes during embryogenesis is of crucial importance for unravelling evolutionary, molecular and cellular mechanisms that underpin patterning and morphogenesis. However, comparative studies focusing on early/embryonic stages during insect development are limited to a few taxa. Drosophila melanogaster is the paradigm for insect development, whereas comparative transcriptomic studies of embryonic stages of hemimetabolous insects are completely lacking. We reconstructed the first comparative transcriptome covering the daily embryonic developmental progression of the blue-tailed damselfly Ischnura elegans (Odonata), an ancient hemimetabolous representative. We identified a “core” set of 6,794 transcripts – shared by all embryonic stages – which are mainly involved in anatomical structure development and cellular nitrogen compound metabolic processes. We further used weighted gene co-expression network analysis to identify transcriptional changes during Odonata embryogenesis. Based on these analyses distinct clusters of transcriptional active sequences could be revealed, indicating that embryos at different development stages have their own transcriptomic profile according to the developmental events and leading to sequential reprogramming of metabolic and developmental genes. Interestingly, a major change in transcriptionally active sequences is correlated with katatrepsis (revolution) during mid-embryogenesis, a 180° rotation of the embryo within the egg and specific to hemimetabolous insects.


This article was originally published in Scientific Reports, available at DOI:10.1038/s41598-017-13176-8.

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.



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