For a long time developmental biology is concerned with the question: “How the growth and patterning of developing tissues are controlled and coordinated?” Nowadays we know that tissues are patterned by small signaling molecules – morphogens; however, how these morphogens control growth is less clear.
It has been shown that in the vinegar fly, Drosophila melanogaster, cells of wing imaginal discs on average divide when Dpp morphogen signaling levels have increased by 50% [O. Wartlick et al. Science 331: 1154-59, 2011]. It is clear now how the Dpp gradient influences cell proliferation and, hence, organ size. But it is of great importance to know whether this mechanism is common and parameters of the morphogen gradient hold true also for different wing sizes. Our task is to find out how the Dpp morphogen determines wing dimensions in two non-model larger flies and respectively their wings: the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, and the common house fly, Musca domestica.