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Evodevo. 2019 Apr 2;10:6. doi: 10.1186/s13227-019-0120-y. eCollection 2019.

Establishment of the mayfly Cloeon dipterum as a new model system to investigate insect evolution.

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1GEM-DMC2 Unit, The CABD (CSIC-UPO-JA), Ctra. de Utrera km 1, 41013 Seville, Spain.
Laboratory of Computational Biology, VIB Center for Brain & Disease Research, Herestraat 49, 3000 Louvain, Belgium.
3Department of Human Genetics, KU Leuven, Oude Markt 13, 3000 Louvain, Belgium.


The great capability of insects to adapt to new environments promoted their extraordinary diversification, resulting in the group of Metazoa with the largest number of species distributed worldwide. To understand this enormous diversity, it is essential to investigate lineages that would allow the reconstruction of the early events in the evolution of insects. However, research on insect ecology, physiology, development and evolution has mostly focused on few well-established model species. The key phylogenetic position of mayflies within Paleoptera as the sister group of the rest of winged insects and life history traits of mayflies make them an essential order to understand insect evolution. Here, we describe the establishment of a continuous culture system of the mayfly Cloeon dipterum and a series of experimental protocols and omics resources that allow the study of its development and its great regenerative capability. Thus, the establishment of Cloeon as an experimental platform paves the way to understand genomic and morphogenetic events that occurred at the origin of winged insects.


Cloeon dipterum; Embryogenesis; Ephemeroptera; Evolutionary and developmental biology; Insect evolution; Mayflies; Paleoptera; Regeneration

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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