The Chimno gene, which establishes the juvenile stage in insects and humans, may be involved in cancer. The Institute for Evolutionary Biology and IRB Barcelona found that the Br-C and E93 genes regulate insect maturity and promote and prevent carcinogenic processes in humans. Insects’ conserved genes may have contributed to metamorphosis. In Drosophila, deleting the Chinmo gene prevented juvenile growth.
Geneticists discovered the Chinmo gene, which controls insect juvenile development, in a revolutionary finding. The gene is also found in animals and may be involved in cancer.
The work, published on eLife by the Institute for Evolutionary Biology (IBE, CSIC-UPF) and IRB Barcelona, illuminates how genes like Br-C and E93 regulate insect development. Human genes induce and repress cancer.
The Chinmo, Br-C, and E93 genes have been preserved throughout insect evolution, according to research on the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the cockroach Blatella germanica. They may have helped metamorphosis evolve.
Flies, which undergo complete metamorphosis, have three stages of development: the embryo, which develops inside the egg; the larva, which grows in several phases; and the pupa, which undergoes metamorphosis and becomes the adult.
Insect pupal development was previously linked to the Br-C gene. In 2019, the same IBE team found that E93 is required for metamorphosis and adult tissue development.
The juvenile stage gene was unknown until recently. This study found that insects’ major precursor is the Chinmo gene.
Chinmo, Youth Gene
Drosophila missing the Chinmo gene skipped the juvenile stage and went straight to the pupal stage. These studies show that juvenile growth requires Chinmo.
Chinmo keeps Drosophila juvenile cells undifferentiated, promoting tissue development. Since Chinmo blocks cell differentiation genes, cells cannot differentiate while it is expressed.
Since mammals have the Chinmo gene, which may be involved in cancer, this discovery has major ramifications for genetics. The work emphasizes the necessity of knowing insect developmental genetic systems, which have been preserved throughout animal evolution.