Genetic analysis of the homeotic gene complex (HOM-C) in the beetle Tribolium castaneum

Dev Biol. 1989 May;133(1):196-209. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(89)90311-4.


Our laboratories have undertaken both genetic and molecular studies of the homeotic gene complex (HOM-C) of the beetle Tribolium castaneum, and this paper discusses results from our genetic analyses. We describe here the adult phenotypes and complementation behavior of over 50 new mutations. Many of these homeotic phenotypes resemble those of Drosophila melanogaster, but few precisely parallel the segmental transformations seen in this fly. Analysis of putative loss-of-function mutations affecting the head and thorax suggests that the maxillopedia and Cephalothorax genes most closely resemble proboscipedia and Sex combs reduced of Drosophila. In the abdomen, putative loss-of-function alleles of Abdominal affect a domain corresponding to those of the combined abdominal-A and Abdominal-B genes of Drosophila. In contrast to the situation in flies, Abdominal loss-of-function variants in Tribolium cause anteriorward transformations in A3-A5a, but posteriorward transformations in A5p-A7. The implications of the differences in developmental strategies evolved in Tribolium vs Drosophila are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen / anatomy & histology
  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Head / anatomy & histology
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Thorax / anatomy & histology
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • Tribolium / anatomy & histology
  • Tribolium / genetics*