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PhotoperiodismThe Biological Calendar$
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Randy J. Nelson, David L. Denlinger, and David E. Somers

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195335903

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195335903.001.0001

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Photoperiodism in Insects: Molecular Basis and Consequences of Diapause

Photoperiodism in Insects: Molecular Basis and Consequences of Diapause

(p.287) 12 Photoperiodism in Insects: Molecular Basis and Consequences of Diapause

Karen D. Williams

Paul S. Schmidt

Marla B. Sokolowski

Oxford University Press

Diapause is a state of dormancy that allows an insect to escape in time. In diapause, the insect postpones development or reproduction in response to specific cues that anticipate the onset of hazardous conditions. For example, changes in day length are often used as cues to anticipate the onset of winter conditions. A glimpse of the molecular mechanisms underlying diapause has begun to emerge in a number of insect species, providing us with tantalizing directions for future research. From a genetic perspective, it appears that genes involved in clock function, insulin signaling, stress resistance, and development have been co-opted into insect diapause pathways. Diapause has consequences for growth, reproduction, survival, and longevity; this, too, provides exciting avenues for future research. Finally, there are similarities between insect diapauses and other dormancies such as dauer formation in nematodes, hibernation in mammals, and mammalian embryonic diapause. This chapter reviews the molecular events dictating the expression of diapause, as well as the events underpinning diapause maintenance.

Keywords:   diapause, insect photoperiodism, molecular mechanisms

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