Research objectives

Our long term objective is to elucidate how the oogenesis in insects is regulated, considering the structural diversity of ovary types and their respective evolutionary history.

Two main types of ovaries can be distinguished in insects: the panoistic and the meroistic. The panoistic type is more generalized in phyllogenetically basal species, whereas the meroistic type predominates in distal insect groups. Our purpose is to understand the transition from panoistic to meroistic ovaries during evolution, and to reach this end objective is crucial to gather molecular information about the different ovarian types. Most of the studies on insect oogenesis published to date have been carried out using Drosophila melanogaster as model, a species with meroistic ovaries. Thus, we have based our project on an insect species with panoistic ovaries: the cockroach Blattella germanica. Our group has been recording a lot of information related with oogenesis and reproduction on this species, and during the last years our research was addressed to study those genes that determine oocyte polarization, and those that control follicular cell proliferation. Now we will study how the juvenile hormone and the ecdysone signal is transduced to determine oocyte capacitation and maturation.