1 month ago
Woods Hole Scientists Solve Century-Old Mystery: How Did Insects Get Their Wings?
By EVE ZUCKOFF • DEC 4, 2020
(Sorry, photos didn't transfer, but great story!)
(Shared from our wonderful WCAI radio station in Woods Hole!)
(How many of our students have taken Entomology at CSS?)
Heather Bruce dissecting crustacean embryos.
How did insects get their wings?
After 100 years of debate, that is the mystery just solved by biologists at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole.
Until now, many scientists believed that insect wings were ”novel” structures that sprang up with no corresponding structure in the ancestor.
But postdoctoral researcher Heather Bruce and MBL Director Nipam Patel helped debunk that theory using gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. Their work revealed that insects share an ancestor with crustaceans.
Still, that discovery didn’t explain everything.
“You might notice that crustaceans don't fly,” she said. “So it's this question, like, where did wings come from? They seem to just kind of pop out of nowhere.”
The story starts about 300 million years ago, when a crustacean with long, flat, paddle-like legs evolved to live on land, and early insects began to make an evolutionary departure.
“When insects moved onto land, they had … to support more of their weight on their legs,” she explained.
Once on land, an outgrowth or “lobe” on early insects’ legs began to evolve.
“Crustaceans have two extra proximal leg segments like near their body wall that are sticking out,” Bruce said. “And in insects, those two leg segments got fused into the body wall.”
Over time, those lobes broadened, expanded, and moved up onto the backs of insects.
“Then those later turned into wings,” she concluded.
The study was published this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution.
“Things like … insect wings don't pop out of nowhere,” she said. “They have a structure in the ancestor that they evolved from and that’s a really fun thing to realize about how evolution works and how evolution tinkers with structures,” she said.
Bruce’s discovery has given scientists a new model to learn more about evolution. She’ll now be able to compare insect and crustacean legs to spider and millipede legs to develop a model of how all arthropod legs correspond to each other. ... See MoreSee Less
4 months ago
CSS is hiring assistants for Summer 2021. Interested parties must be at least 16 years old by the beginning of the first session (15 if you’re applying to be runner). Just send a message through Facebook messenger for more information! ... See MoreSee Less
6 months ago
The answer to the embryo quiz is a limulus Polyphemus!!!!! ... See MoreSee Less
7 months ago
Important update from CSS World headquarters (South):
While CSS will not be able to offer any in-person classes this summer, plans for our remote offerings are coming together nicely and many of our experienced CSS teachers and assistants are creating hands-on activities that your children will be able to do mostly on their own. We will be running two three week sessions with the first running from Monday, July 6 to Friday, July 24 and the second from July 27 to August 14. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 8:30 AM teachers will post a series of hands-on projects, data collection, and other CSS related activities. Students may be asked to submit their findings so that the data can be assembled for class analysis. (There will not be a daily Zoom meeting for any of these classes). Classes will be organized by both theme and age, and the list of offerings will be sent out within the next week but will cover typical areas of study like Animal Behavior, Marine Biology, Oceanography, Botany, and Photography. In order to have access to the password protected class materials, parents will be asked to register for classes; however, there will be no charge for these classes (of course, donations to cover our teachers’ and assistants’ salaries would be appreciated). ... See MoreSee Less
11 months ago
Exciting news from CSS World Headquarters: Registration for this summer will go live tomorrow, Saturday, February 15th. All families with prior registrants should receive an email directing you to our website where you can follow the link to register. Brochure and course registration information are also available on our website. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions! ... See MoreSee Less
11 months ago
When will the registration link for 2020 go live? ... See MoreSee Less
1 years ago
The Assistants have asked me to cordially invite the entire extended CSS family the annual Assistant's Picnic, this Thursday, from 5-7PM at the Taft playground/Belltower ball park. There will be fun and games and watermelon. There was even evidence at school today of possible brownies...so come one come all and bring yourselves a nice yummy dinner! ... See MoreSee Less