Size Matters

Science Signaling  21 Dec 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 153, pp. ec392
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3153ec392

Animals regulate their growth so that all organs are mutually proportional, even when growth occurs at different times. However, the mechanism by which this occurs is unknown. Nijhout and Grunert performed an analysis of relative wing growth in the tobacco hornworm, Manduca. Animals that were small owing to starvation had smaller wings, due to their slower growth rate, and they also stopped growing earlier than large, well-fed larvae. The insect hormone ecdysone was implicated in the process that governs this scaling relationship between adult wings and body size.

H. F. Nijhout, L. W. Grunert, The cellular and physiological mechanism of wing-body scaling in Manduca sexta. Science 330, 1693–1695 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]