Phase change in locusts is an ideal model for studying the genetic architectures and regulatory mechanisms associated with phenotypic plasticity. The recent development of genomic and metabolomic tools and resources has furthered our understanding of the molecular basis of phase change in locusts. Thousands of phase-related genes and metabolites have been highlighted using large-scale expressed sequence tags, microarrays, high-throughput transcriptomic sequences, or metabolomic approaches. However, only several key factors, including genes, metabolites, and pathways, have a critical role in phase transition in locusts. For example, (chemosensory protein) and genes, the dopamine pathway, protein kinase A, and carnitines were found to be involved in the regulation of behavioral phase change and gram-negative bacteria–binding proteins in prophylaxical disease resistance of gregarious locusts. Epigenetic mechanisms including small noncoding RNAs and DNA methylation have been implicated. We review these new advances in the molecular basis of phase change in locusts and present some challenges that need to be addressed.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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