Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2004
Publication Date: 9/26/2005
Citation: Swevers, L., Raikhel, A.S., Sappington, T.W., Shirk, P.D., Iatrou, K. 2005. Vitellogenesis and post-vitellogenic maturation of the insect ovarian follicle. In: Gilbert, L.I., Iatrou, K., Gill, S.S., editors. Comprehensive Molecular Insect Science. Volume 1. New York, NY: Elsevier Pergamon. p. 87-155.
Technical Abstract: Female insects typically produce prodigious numbers of eggs to assure the propagation of their genes, and invest considerable resources towards this end. Ultimately, the egg of an insect must contain one haploid set of chromosomes, sufficient nutrients to supply the growing embryo with resources to last until the larva or nymph ecloses and begins feeding, and a set of determinants to direct the organization and progression of embryogenesis, including the differentiation of a new cluster of germ cells. As with all organs, the morphology of the ovary reflects the physical and genetic requirements of its physiological role, which in this case is the functional assembly of the various components of the oocyte. Visual inspection shows that the polytrophic ovary of holometabolus insects, which represents a major focus of this chapter, is comprised of a series of ovarioles that contain linear arrays of progressively developing follicles, starting with dividing germ stem cells at one end, and ending with mature oocytes ready for fertilization at the other. Essentially, the ovariole can be considered an assembly line leading to the production of eggs. How this assembly line operates within different species to produce similar end products, i.e. mature oocytes, depends on the insect, its life history, and its evolutionary history. This chapter is intended to serve as both a comprehensive review for scientists working in the field of insect vitellogenesis, and as a tool for teachers of advanced courses in insect physiology and biochemistry.