Insects as Model Physiological Organisms and Studying Fat Metabolism and Exocrine Glands with Stable Isotopes

February 02, 2023

IRBI - Salle séminaire
Faculté des Sciences et Techniques
Avenue Monge, Parc Grandmont
37000 Tours


On the face of it, insects are strikingly different from humans and other mammals. Yet the physiologies of these two groups of animals are remarkably similar. It is little wonder then that studying insects has pioneered some of our efforts to understand human physiologies, notably in embryology, genetics and the profound effects of endocrine and exocrine systems on physiology/behavior.  We’ve been using stable isotope tracers to study the functioning of an insect exocrine gland –glands that secrete their products to the epithelium (often “skin”) of an animal - the sex pheromone gland of a female moth. This gland produces chemicals, via a modified fat metabolism, that attracts conspecific males over great distances for mating. The techniques we’ve used in these studies can be used to study other physiologies, particularly those involving fat and carbohydrate metabolism. In this talk, I will compare insect and mammalian physiologies and demonstrate how our findings on moth pheromone glands can be used to develop a broader understanding of the functioning of exocrine glands in animals.


Prof. Stephen Foster

LE STUDIUM Research Fellow 

FROM: North Dakota State University - USA 
IN RESIDENCE AT: Insect Biology Research Institute (IRBI), University of Tours / CNRS - FR

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