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Thurston Lacalli
The axonal projection from the retina to the optic tectum maps visual information isomorphically from one to the other and serves as a model for the development of sensory maps more generally in the vertebrate brain. How or why this connection evolved is not known, nor why the midbrain is so important to the processing of visual information. Amphioxus is potentially informative here because its eye homolog, the frontal eye, also has a neural connection to a region of the brain now known to be homologous with the caudal diencephalon and midbrain...
2018: EvoDevo
Evgeniya Anishchenko, Maria Ina Arnone, Salvatore D'Aniello
Background: Current studies in evolutionary developmental biology are focused on the reconstruction of gene regulatory networks in target animal species. From decades, the scientific interest on genetic mechanisms orchestrating embryos development has been increasing in consequence to the fact that common features shared by evolutionarily distant phyla are being clarified. In 2011, a study across eumetazoan species showed for the first time the existence of a highly conserved non-coding element controlling the SoxB2 gene, which is involved in the early specification of the nervous system...
2018: EvoDevo
Stanislav Kremnyov, Kristine Henningfeld, Christoph Viebahn, Nikoloz Tsikolia
Background: The notochord has organizer properties and is required for floor plate induction and dorsoventral patterning of the neural tube. This activity has been attributed to sonic hedgehog (shh) signaling, which originates in the notochord, forms a gradient, and autoinduces shh expression in the floor plate. However, reported data are inconsistent and the spatiotemporal development of the relevant shh expression domains has not been studied in detail. We therefore studied the expression dynamics of shh in rabbit, chicken and Xenopus laevis embryos (as well as indian hedgehog and desert hedgehog as possible alternative functional candidates in the chicken)...
2018: EvoDevo
Christopher J Percival, Rebecca Green, Charles C Roseman, Daniel M Gatti, Judith L Morgan, Stephen A Murray, Leah Rae Donahue, Jessica M Mayeux, K Michael Pollard, Kunjie Hua, Daniel Pomp, Ralph Marcucio, Benedikt Hallgrímsson
Background: Previous analysis suggested that the relative contribution of individual bones to regional skull lengths differ between inbred mouse strains. If the negative correlation of adjacent bone lengths is associated with genetic variation in a heterogeneous population, it would be an example of negative pleiotropy, which occurs when a genetic factor leads to opposite effects in two phenotypes. Confirming negative pleiotropy and determining its basis may reveal important information about the maintenance of overall skull integration and developmental constraint on skull morphology...
2018: EvoDevo
Amy H Royall, Ignacio Maeso, Thomas L Dunwell, Peter W H Holland
Background: ETCHbox genes are eutherian-specific homeobox genes expressed during preimplantation development at a time when the first cell lineage decisions are being made. The mouse has an unusual repertoire of ETCHbox genes with several gene families lost in evolution and the remaining two, Crxos and Obox, greatly divergent in sequence and number. Each has undergone duplication to give a double homeodomain Crxos locus and a large cluster of over 60 Obox loci. The gene content differences between species raise important questions about how evolution can tolerate loss of genes implicated in key developmental events...
2018: EvoDevo
Anita Khadka, Marina Martínez-Bartolomé, Stephanie D Burr, Ryan C Range
The anterior neuroectoderm (ANE) in many deuterostome embryos (echinoderms, hemichordates, urochordates, cephalochordates, and vertebrates) is progressively restricted along the anterior-posterior axis to a domain around the anterior pole. In the sea urchin embryo, three integrated Wnt signaling branches (Wnt/β-catenin, Wnt/JNK, and Wnt/PKC) govern this progressive restriction process, which begins around the 32- to 60-cell stage and terminates by the early gastrula stage. We previously have established that several secreted Wnt modulators of the Dickkopf and secreted Frizzled-related protein families (Dkk1, Dkk3, and sFRP-1/5) are expressed within the ANE and play important roles in modulating the Wnt signaling network during this process...
2018: EvoDevo
Sarah L Whiteley, Clare E Holleley, Wendy A Ruscoe, Meghan Castelli, Darryl L Whitehead, Juan Lei, Arthur Georges, Vera Weisbecker
Background: The development of male- or female-specific phenotypes in squamates is typically controlled by either temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) or chromosome-based genetic sex determination (GSD). However, while sex determination is a major switch in individual phenotypic development, it is unknownhow evolutionary transitions between GSD and TSD might impact on the evolution of squamate phenotypes, particularly the fast-evolving and diverse genitalia. Here, we take the unique opportunity of studying the impact of both sex determination mechanisms on the embryological development of the central bearded dragon ( Pogona vitticeps )...
2017: EvoDevo
Shannon N Barry, Karen D Crow
Background: Batoids exhibit unique body plans with derived fin morphologies, such as the anteriorly expanded pectoral fins that fuse to the head, or distally extended anterior pelvic fin lobes used for a modified swimming technique utilized by skates (Rajidae). The little skate ( Leucoraja erinacea ), exhibits both of these unique fin morphologies. These fin modifications are not present in a typical shark body plan, and little is known regarding the mechanisms underlying their development...
2017: EvoDevo
Victor Simon, Romain Elleboode, Kélig Mahé, Laurent Legendre, Patricia Ornelas-Garcia, Luis Espinasa, Sylvie Rétaux
Background: Life in the darkness of caves is accompanied, throughout phyla, by striking phenotypic changes including the loss or severe reduction in eyes and pigmentation. On the other hand, cave animals have undergone constructive changes, thought to be adaptive, to survive in this extreme environment. The present study addresses the question of the evolution of growth in caves, taking advantage of the comparison between the river-dwelling and the cave-dwelling morphs of the Mexican tetra, Astyanax mexicanus ...
2017: EvoDevo
Bharti Sharma, Elena M Kramer
The model Aquilegia coerulea x "Origami" possesses several interesting floral features, including petaloid sepals that are morphologically distinct from the true petals and a broad domain containing many whorls of stamens. We undertook the current study in an effort to understand the former trait, but additionally uncovered data that inform on the latter. The Aquilegia B gene homolog AqPI is shown to contribute to the production of anthocyanin in the first whorl sepals, although it has no major role in their morphology...
2017: EvoDevo
Thomas A Stewart, Ramray Bhat, Stuart A Newman
The evolution of tetrapod limbs from paired fins has long been of interest to both evolutionary and developmental biologists. Several recent investigative tracks have converged to restructure hypotheses in this area. First, there is now general agreement that the limb skeleton is patterned by one or more Turing-type reaction-diffusion, or reaction-diffusion-adhesion, mechanism that involves the dynamical breaking of spatial symmetry. Second, experimental studies in finned vertebrates, such as catshark and zebrafish, have disclosed unexpected correspondence between the development of digits and the development of both the endoskeleton and the dermal skeleton of fins...
2017: EvoDevo
Karl R Wotton, Anna Alcaine-Colet, Johannes Jaeger, Eva Jiménez-Guri
Background: Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are of central importance for dorsal-ventral (DV) axis specification. They are core components of a signalling cascade that includes the BMP ligand decapentaplegic (DPP) and its antagonist short gastrulation (SOG) in Drosophila melanogaster. These components are very ancient, with orthologs involved in DV patterning in both protostomes and deuterostomes. Despite such strong conservation, recent comparative work in insects has revealed interesting differences in the way the patterning function of the DV system is achieved in different species...
2017: EvoDevo
George von Dassow, Svetlana A Maslakova
BACKGROUND: Nemertean embryos undergo equal spiral cleavage, and prior fate-mapping studies showed that some also exhibit key aspects of spiralian lineage-based fate specification, including specification of the primary trochoblasts, which differentiate early as the core of the prototroch of the spiralian trochophore larva. Yet it remains unclear how the nemertean pilidium larva, a long-lived planktotroph that grows substantially as it builds a juvenile body from isolated rudiments, develops within the constraints of spiral cleavage...
2017: EvoDevo
Vera S Hunnekuhl, Michael Akam
BACKGROUND: There have been few studies of head patterning in non-insect arthropods, and even in the insects, much is not yet understood. In the fly Drosophila three head gap genes, orthodenticle (otd), buttonhead (btd) and empty spiracles (ems) are essential for patterning the head. However, they do not act through the same pair-rule genes that pattern the trunk from the mandibular segment backwards. Instead they act through the downstream factors collier (col) and cap'n'collar (cnc), and presumably other unknown factors...
2017: EvoDevo
Jamie L Kostyun, Jill C Preston, Leonie C Moyle
BACKGROUND: Heterochronic shifts during mid- to late stages of organismal development have been proposed as key mechanisms generating phenotypic diversity. To determine whether late heterochronic shifts underlie derived floral morphologies within Jaltomata (Solanaceae)-a genus whose species have extensive and recently evolved floral diversity-we compared floral development of four diverse species (including an ambiguously ancestral or secondarily derived rotate, two putatively independently evolved campanulate, and a tubular morph) to the ancestral rotate floral form, as well as to an outgroup that shares this ancestral floral morphology...
2017: EvoDevo
Christopher Kraus, Philipp H Schiffer, Hiroshi Kagoshima, Hideaki Hiraki, Theresa Vogt, Michael Kroiher, Yuji Kohara, Einhard Schierenberg
BACKGROUND: The free-living nematode Diploscapter coronatus is the closest known relative of Caenorhabditis elegans with parthenogenetic reproduction. It shows several developmental idiosyncracies, for example concerning the mode of reproduction, embryonic axis formation and early cleavage pattern (Lahl et al. in Int J Dev Biol 50:393-397, 2006). Our recent genome analysis (Hiraki et al. in BMC Genomics 18:478, 2017) provides a solid foundation to better understand the molecular basis of developmental idiosyncrasies in this species in an evolutionary context by comparison with selected other nematodes...
2017: EvoDevo
Yong Lu, Mengyao Chen, Katie Reding, Leslie Pick
Hemiptera is a large clade of insects understudied in terms of developmental biology. Halyomorpha halys, the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB, referred to throughout as H. halys), is an invasive hemipteran pest of the mid-Atlantic region of the USA that has rapidly spread to other regions in recent years, devastating a wide range of crops using a piercing and sucking mechanism. Its phylogenetic position, polyphagous habits, and rapid spread in the USA suggested that H. halys would be an ideal system to broaden our knowledge of developmental mechanisms in insects...
2017: EvoDevo
Leslie S Babonis, Mark Q Martindale
BACKGROUND: Pax genes are a family of conserved transcription factors that regulate many aspects of developmental morphogenesis, notably the development of ectodermal sensory structures including eyes. Nematostella vectensis, the starlet sea anemone, has numerous Pax orthologs, many of which are expressed early during embryogenesis. The function of Pax genes in this eyeless cnidarian is unknown. RESULTS: Here, we show that PaxA, but not PaxC, plays a critical role in the development of cnidocytes in N...
2017: EvoDevo
Karl Palmquist, Brad Davidson
BACKGROUND: The evolutionary emergence and diversification of the chordates appear to involve dramatic changes in organ morphogenesis along the left/right axis. However, the ancestral chordate mechanism for establishing lateral asymmetry remains ambiguous. Additionally, links between the initial establishment of lateral asymmetry and subsequent asymmetries in organ morphogenesis are poorly characterized. RESULTS: To explore asymmetric organ morphogenesis during chordate evolution, we have begun to characterize left/right patterning of the heart and endodermal organs in an invertebrate chordate, Ciona intestinalis...
2017: EvoDevo
Claudia Racioppi, Maria Carmen Valoroso, Ugo Coppola, Elijah K Lowe, C Titus Brown, Billie J Swalla, Lionel Christiaen, Alberto Stolfi, Filomena Ristoratore
BACKGROUND: Analyzing close species with diverse developmental modes is instrumental for investigating the evolutionary significance of physiological, anatomical and behavioral features at a molecular level. Many examples of trait loss are known in metazoan populations living in dark environments. Tunicates are the closest living relatives of vertebrates and typically present a lifecycle with distinct motile larval and sessile adult stages. The nervous system of the motile larva contains melanized cells associated with geotactic and light-sensing organs...
2017: EvoDevo
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