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Evolution & Development

Emily A Buchholtz, Jessica K Gee
Axial morphology was dramatically transformed during the transition from terrestrial to aquatic environments by archaeocete cetaceans, and again during the subsequent odontocete radiation. Here, we reconstruct the sequence of developmental events that underlie these phenotypic transitions. Archaeocete innovations include the loss of primaxial/abaxial interaction at the sacral/pelvic articulation and the modular dissociation of the fluke from the remainder of the tail. Odontocetes subsequently integrated lumbar, sacral, and anterior caudal vertebrae into a single torso module, and underwent multiple series-specific changes in vertebral count...
July 20, 2017: Evolution & Development
Patrick T Rohner, Wolf U Blanckenhorn, Martin A Schäfer
Ultimate factors driving insect body size are rather well understood, while-apart from a few model species-the underlying physiological and developmental mechanisms received less attention. We investigate the physiological basis of adaptive size variation in the yellow dung fly Scathophaga stercoraria, which shows pronounced male-biased sexual size dimorphism and strong body size plasticity. We estimate variation of a major physiological threshold, the critical weight, which is the mass at which a larva initiates pupariation...
May 2017: Evolution & Development
Aude G M Caromel, Daniela N Schmidt, Emily J Rayfield
Developmental processes represent one of the main constraints on the generation of adult form. Determining how constructional and energetic demands operate throughout growth is es-sential to understanding fundamental growth rules and trade-offs that define the framework within which new species originate. In organisms producing spiral shells, coiling patterns can inform on the constructional constraints acting throughout development that dictated the diversification of forms within a group. Here, we use Synchrotron radiation X-Ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) reconstructions of eight planktic foraminifera repre-sentative of the major morphotypic groups to determine disparity of coiling patterns by measuring Raupian parameters...
May 2017: Evolution & Development
Claudia Gabriela Montes-Cartas, Pablo Padilla, Julieta A Rosell, César A Domínguez, Juan Fornoni, Mark E Olson
The study of modularity allows recognition of suites of character covariation that potentially diagnose units of evolutionary change. One prominent perspective predicts that natural selection should forge developmental units that maximize mutual functional independence. We examined the module-function relation using secondary xylem (wood) in a clade of tropical trees as a study system. Traditionally, the three main cell types in wood (vessels, fibers, and parenchyma) have respectively been associated with three functions (conduction, mechanical support, and storage)...
May 2017: Evolution & Development
Robin M Andrews, Sable A Skewes
In many respects, reptile hatchlings are fully functional, albeit miniature, adults. This means that the adult morphology must emerge during embryonic development. This insight emphasizes the connection between the mechanisms that generate phenotypic variation during embryonic development and the action of selection on post-hatching individuals. To determine when species-specific differences in limb and tail lengths emerge during embryonic development, we compared allometric patterns of early limb growth of four distantly related species of lizards...
May 2017: Evolution & Development
Ralf Janssen
Evolution of segmented limbs is one of the key innovations of Arthropoda, allowing development of functionally specific specialized head and trunk appendages, a major factor behind their unmatched evolutionary success. Proximodistal limb patterning is controlled by two regulatory networks in the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster, and other insects. The first is represented by the function of the morphogens Wingless (Wg) and Decapentaplegic (Dpp); the second by the EGFR-signaling cascade. While the role of Wg and Dpp has been studied in a wide range of arthropods representing all main branches, that is, Pancrustacea (= Hexapoda + Crustacea), Myriapoda and Chelicerata, investigation of the potential role of EGFR-signaling is restricted to insects (Hexapoda)...
May 2017: Evolution & Development
Kathleen Garland, Ariel Marcy, Emma Sherratt, Vera Weisbecker
Marsupials display far less forelimb diversity than placentals, possibly because of the laborious forelimb-powered climb to the pouch performed by most marsupial neonates. This is thought to result in stronger morphological integration (i.e., higher co-variance) within the marsupial forelimb skeleton, and lower integration between marsupial fore- and hind limbs, compared to other mammals. Possible mechanisms for this constraint are a fundamental developmental change in marsupial limb patterning, or alternatively more immediate perinatal biomechanical and metabolic requirements...
March 2017: Evolution & Development
Marcela Randau, Anjali Goswami
Morphological integration and modularity, which describe the relationships among morphological attributes and reflect genetic, developmental, and functional interactions, have been hypothesized to be major influences on trait responses to selection and thus morphological evolution. The mammalian presacral vertebral column shows little variation in vertebral count and therefore specialization for function occurs primarily through modification of vertebral shape. However, vertebral shape has been suggested to be under strong control from developmental canalization, although this has never been explicitly tested...
February 17, 2017: Evolution & Development
Floréal Solé, Sandrine Ladevèze
One major innovation of mammals is the tribosphenic molar, characterized by the evolution of a neomorphic upper cusp (=protocone) and a lower basin (=talonid) that occlude and provide shearing and crushing functions. This type of molar is an evolutionarily flexible structure that enabled mammals to achieve complex dental adaptations. Among carnivorous mammals, hypercarnivory is a common trend that evolved several times among therians (marsupials, placentals, and stem relatives). Hypercarnivory involves an important simplification of the carnassial molar pattern from the ancestral tribosphenic molar pattern, with the modification of the triangular tooth crown, and the loss of several cusps and cuspids typical of the tribosphenic molar...
February 9, 2017: Evolution & Development
Thomas Pham, Stephanie M Day, William J Glassford, Thomas M Williams, Mark Rebeiz
The evolutionary origins of morphological structures are thought to often depend upon the redeployment of old genes into new developmental settings. Although many examples of cis-regulatory divergence have shown how pre-existing patterns of gene expression have been altered, only a small number of case studies have traced the origins of cis-regulatory elements that drive new expression domains. Here, we elucidate the evolutionary history of a novel expression pattern of the yellow gene within the Zaprionus genus of fruit flies...
January 24, 2017: Evolution & Development
César Arenas-Mena
The leap from simple unicellularity to complex multicellularity remains one of life's major enigmas. The origins of metazoan developmental gene regulatory mechanisms are sought by analyzing gene regulation in extant eumetazoans, sponges, and unicellular organisms. The main hypothesis of this manuscript is that, developmental enhancers evolved from unicellular inducible promoters that diversified the expression of regulatory genes during metazoan evolution. Promoters and enhancers are functionally similar; both can regulate the transcription of distal promoters and both direct local transcription...
January 24, 2017: Evolution & Development
Constanze Bickelmann, Wessel van der Vos, Merijn A G de Bakker, Rafael Jiménez, Saskia Maas, Marcelo R Sánchez-Villagra
Fossorial talpid moles use their limbs predominantly for digging, which explains their highly specialized anatomy. The humerus is particularly short and dorsoventrally rotated, with broadened distal and proximal parts where muscles attach and which facilitate powerful abductive movements. The radius and ulna are exceptionally robust and short. The ulna has an expanded olecranon process. The femur is generalized, but the fused tibia-fibula complex is short and robust. To understand the developmental bases of these specializations, we studied expression patterns of four 5' Hox genes in the fossorial Iberian mole (Talpa occidentalis)...
January 2017: Evolution & Development
Takeo Kuriyama, Masami Hasegawa
The combination of body stripes and vivid blue tail color has independently evolved in different lizard families. To understand how and when lizards developed this coloration, we microscopically compared the embryonic development of pigment cells in two island populations of Plestiodon latiscutatus that exhibit either striped and blue tailed or inconspicuously striped and blue tailed juveniles, based on the newly determined 12 normal developmental stages of embryos from shortly after egg laying to just before hatching...
January 2017: Evolution & Development
Shuhei Niitsu, Hirotaka Sugawara, Fumio Hayashi
The evolution of winglessness in insects has been typically interpreted as a consequence of developmental and other adaptations to various environments that are secondarily derived from a winged morph. Several species of bagworm moths (Insecta: Lepidoptera, Psychidae) exhibit a case-dwelling larval life style along with one of the most extreme cases of sexual dimorphism: wingless female adults. While the developmental process that led to these wingless females is well known, the origins and evolutionary transitions are not yet understood...
January 2017: Evolution & Development
Julieta Carril, Claudia P Tambussi
The ossification sequence of Myiopsitta monachus was determined. Myiopsitta has a similar sequence to other altricial birds, with delayed skeletons compared to precocial species. The hindlimbs ossify before the forelimbs, a condition that could be linked to altriciality. To determine the stability of the sequences of ossification across birds, we selected species of different groups of Aves and used event-pairing method and character mapping on a phylogeny. Our results show that the homogeneity in the development of birds was supported by 56...
January 2017: Evolution & Development
Muhammad T Raj, Julia C Boughner
Vertebrate jaws and dentitions fit and function together, yet the genetic processes that coordinate cranial and dental morphogenesis and evolution remain poorly understood. Teeth but not jaws fail to form in the edentate p63(-/-) mouse mutant, which we used here to identify genes important to odontogenesis, but not jaw morphogenesis, and that may allow dentitions to change during development and evolution without necessarily affecting the jaw skeleton. With the working hypothesis that tooth and jaw development are autonomously controlled by discreet gene regulatory networks, using gene expression microarray assays validated by quantitative reverse-transcription PCR we contrasted expression in mandibular prominences at embryonic days (E) 10-13 of mice with normal lower jaw development but either normal (p63(+/-) , p63(+/+) ) or arrested (p63(-/-) ) tooth development...
December 2016: Evolution & Development
Marco Romano
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
December 2016: Evolution & Development
Cameron J Weadick, Ralf J Sommer
Patterns of senescence (or aging) can vary among life history traits and between the sexes, providing an opportunity to study variation in the aging process within a single species. We previously found that females of the nematode Pristionchus exspectatus outlive males by a substantial margin under laboratory conditions. Here, we show that sex-specific reproductive senescence unfolds in the opposite direction in this species, resulting in a prolonged period of female-specific post-reproductive survival: females lost the ability to reproduce at approximately 4...
December 2016: Evolution & Development
Eric R Schuppe, Tessa K Solomon-Lane, Devaleena S Pradhan, Kevin Thonkulpitak, Matthew S Grober
Although early exposure to androgens is necessary to permanently organize male phenotype in many vertebrates, animals that exhibit adult sexual plasticity require mechanisms that prevent early fixation of genital morphology and allow for genital morphogenesis during adult transformation. In Lythrypnus dalli, a teleost fish that exhibits bi-directional sex change, adults display dimorphic genitalia morphology despite the absence of sex differences in the potent fish androgen 11-ketotestosterone. Based on conserved patterns of vertebrate development, two steroid-based mechanisms may regulate the early development and adult maintenance of dimorphic genitalia; local androgen receptor (AR) and steroidogenic enzyme expression...
December 2016: Evolution & Development
John A Cunningham, Kelly Vargas, Federica Marone, Stefan Bengtson, Philip C J Donoghue
Three-dimensional analyses of the early Ediacaran microfossils from the Weng'an biota (Doushantuo Formation) have focused predominantly on multicellular forms that have been interpreted as embryos, and yet they have defied phylogenetic interpretation principally because of absence of evidence from other stages in their life cycle. It is therefore unfortunate that the affinities of the various other Doushantuo microfossils have been neglected. A new conical fossil that is preserved at a cellular level is described here...
December 2016: Evolution & Development
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