The Cricket Gryllus bimaculatus: Techniques for Quantitative and Functional Genetic Analyses of Cricket Biology

Results Probl Cell Differ. 2019;68:183-216. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-23459-1_8.


All extant species are an outcome of nature's "experiments" during evolution, and hence multiple species need to be studied and compared to gain a thorough understanding of evolutionary processes. The field of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) aspires to expand the number of species studied, because most functional genetic studies in animals have been limited to a small number of "traditional" model organisms, many of which belong to the same phylum (Chordata). The phylum Arthropoda, and particularly its component class Insecta, possesses many important characteristics that are considered favorable and attractive for evo-devo research, including an astonishing diversity of extant species and a wide disparity in body plans. The development of the most thoroughly investigated insect genetic model system to date, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster (a holometabolous insect), appears highly derived with respect to other insects and indeed with respect to most arthropods. In comparison, crickets (a basally branching hemimetabolous insect lineage compared to the Holometabola) are thought to embody many developmental features that make them more representative of insects. Here we focus on crickets as emerging models to study problems in a wide range of biological areas and summarize the currently available molecular, genomic, forward and reverse genetic, imaging and computational tool kit that has been established or adapted for cricket research. With an emphasis on the cricket species Gryllus bimaculatus, we highlight recent efforts made by the scientific community in establishing this species as a laboratory model for cellular biology and developmental genetics. This broad toolkit has the potential to accelerate many traditional areas of cricket research, including studies of adaptation, evolution, neuroethology, physiology, endocrinology, regeneration, and reproductive behavior. It may also help to establish newer areas, for example, the use of crickets as animal infection model systems and human food sources.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Food Supply
  • Gryllidae / embryology
  • Gryllidae / genetics*
  • Gryllidae / microbiology
  • Gryllidae / physiology*
  • Models, Animal*