Beyond DNA puffs: What can we learn from studying sciarids?

Members of the Sciaridae family attracted the interest of researchers because of the demonstration that the DNA puff regions, which are formed in the salivary gland polytene chromosomes at the end of the fourth larval instar, constitute sites of developmentally regulated gene amplification. Besides contributing to a deeper understanding of the process of gene amplification, the study of sciarids has also provided important insights on other biological processes such as sex determination, programmed cell death, insect immunity, telomere maintenance and nucleolar organizing regions (NOR) formation. Open questions in sciarids include among others, early development, the role of non coding RNAs in gene amplification and the relationship between gene amplification and transcription in DNA puff forming regions. These and other questions can now be pursued with next generation sequencing techniques and experiments using RNAi experiments, since this latter technique has been shown to be feasible in sciarids. These new perspectives in the field of sciarid biology open the opportunity to consolidate sciarid species as important emerging models. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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