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Amphioxus molecular biology: insights into vertebrate evolution and developmental mechanisms

Shimeld, S. M. and Holland, N. D. (2005) Amphioxus molecular biology: insights into vertebrate evolution and developmental mechanisms. Canadian Journal of Zoology-Revue Canadienne De Zoologie, 83 (1). pp. 90-100. ISSN 0008-4301

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1139/z04-155

Abstract/Summary

The cephalochordate amphioxus is the best available proxy for the last common invertebrate ancestor of the vertebrates. During the last decade, the developmental genetics of amphioxus have been extensively examined for insights into the evolutionary origin and early evolution of the vertebrates. Comparisons between expression domains of homologous genes in amphioxus and vertebrates have strengthened proposed homologies between specific body parts. Molecular genetic studies have also highlighted parallels in the developmental mechanisms of amphioxus and vertebrates. In both groups, a similar nested pattern of Hox gene expression is involved in rostrocaudal patterning of the neural tube, and homologous genes also appear to be involved in dorsoventral neural patterning. Studies of amphioxus molecular biology have also hinted that the protochordate ancestor of the vertebrates included cell populations that modified their developmental genetic pathways during early vertebrate evolution to yield definitive neural crest and neurogenic placodes. We also discuss how the application of expressed sequence tag and gene-mapping approaches to amphioxus have combined with developmental studies to advance our understanding of chordate genome evolution. We conclude by considering the potential offered by the sequencing of the amphioxus genome, which was completed in late 2004.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:10389
Uncontrolled Keywords:NEURAL CREST EVOLUTION, CENTRAL-NERVOUS-SYSTEM, WINGED HELIX/FORKHEAD, GENE, THYROID PEROXIDASE GENE, PAIRED BOX GENE, HOMEOBOX GENE, ECTODERMAL PLACODES, CHORDATE EVOLUTION, ENGRAILED GENE, RETINOIC ACID

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