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Evolution of the Digestive Systems of Insects


Transgenic plants express proteins which affect insect digestive functions,making them resistant to insects. The development of this field need a better understanding of insect digestion. Our research addresses to this subject from a broad point of view which includes the following aims: (a) Description of the organization of the digestive process in significant insect taxa to test the current hypothesis on the evolution of insect digestive systems. (b) Isolation of digestive enzymes and definition of their properties and functions with emphasis on cathepsin-like proteinases, which do not occur in vertebrates, and amylases, alfa-glucosidases and trehalases which have peculiar properties. (c) Study of the secretory mechanisms of digestive enzyme using mainly the technique of immunocytolocalization with antiserum produced against purified enzymes. (d) Correlations of midgut morphology and digestive physiology of adult insects from the major orders. (AU)

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