PhD, Honorary Professor at the CSIC.
Institute of Evolutionary Biology (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra)
Passeig Maritim 37, 08003 Barcelona
E-mail: xavier.belles [at] ibe.upf-csic.es
Telephone: +34 93 230 96 36
Fax: +34 93 221 10 11
How does a caterpillar transform into a butterfly? That question, which sums up the wonder and mystery of insect metamorphosis, has built a timeless enigma, which has perplexed mankind since the earliest times.
The subject fascinated me since I was a child, when I raised silkworms at home, in shoeboxes. As an adult, I have studied the metamorphosis of insects using the German cockroach, which is a representative of the most ancestral direct metamorphosis mode.
My academic career began in the 1970s, and continues today
I seek to understand the mechanisms regulating metamorphosis in the German cockroach, concentrating on three main subjects: 1) qualitative metamorphic changes, 2) transcription factors involved, 3) small RNAs, and 4) complex networks
The idea is to compare these mechanisms with those operating in more derived species that follow an indirect metamorphosis mode. I enjoy trying to unravel the evolutionary transition from direct (hemimetabolan) to indirect (holometabolan) metamorphosis.
For a recent and comprehensive review, you can explore:
Insect Metamorphosis. From Natural History to Regulation of Development and Evolution
Author: Xavier Belles
Paperback ISBN: 9780128130209
eBook ISBN: 9780128130216
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 17th March 2020
Page Count: 304