Saturday, January 28, 2017

How insects decide to grow up

          Image of a maggot (left); the steroid producing cells with the maggot brain (middle);
and an expanded image of the steroid producing cells (right). 
Like animals, insects go through a maturity phase. That maturity phase is called metamorphosis, an example would be when maggots turn into flies. A team of scientist from the University of California, Riverside, had solved the puzzle on metamorphosis in insects. They came to a conclusion that the cells that produce steroid hormones keep cloning their DNA without cell division making their nuclei immense. This lead to belief that the amount of DNA in steroid hormone-producing cells is key for juvenile development. These scientist stated that just like human puberty, metamorphosis is irreversible. Once cells start producing steroid hormones, there is no point of return. 
I believe this study will help not only in the short run, but also in the long run. It seems that studying such a small insect can have such a major impact on the world. It is said that manipulating their steroid pathways, they can control the agricultural pest. They could also be used for aiding other insects like bees. What I found interesting is that altering these hormones can lead to developing better ways to treat diseases. The impact of this may aide in breast cancer, prostate cancer, and menopause. I support these scientists study because it is not harming or a threat to any specie; there are only benefits to this research that will help improve not only humans, but insects as well.

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