Display Settings:

Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
J Anat. 2001 Jul-Aug;199(Pt 1-2):121-31.

Early development of the neural plate, neural crest and facial region of marsupials.

Author information

  • Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA. kksmith@duke.edu

Abstract

Marsupial mammals have a distinctive reproductive strategy. The young are born after an exceptionally short period of organogenesis and are consequently extremely altricial. Yet because they must be functionally independent in an essentially embryonic condition, the marsupial neonate exhibits a unique suite of adaptations. In particular, certain bones of the facial region, most cranial musculature and a few additional structures are accelerated in their development. In contrast, central nervous system structures, especially the forebrain, are markedly premature at birth, resembling an embryonic d 11 or 12 mouse. This review examines the developmental processes that are modified to produce these evolutionary changes. The focus is on the early development of the neural plate, neural crest and facial region in the marsupial, Monodelphis domestica, compared with patterns reported for rodents. Neural crest begins differentiation and migration at the neural plate stage, which results in large accumulations of neural crest in the facial region at an early stage of development. The early accumulation of neural crest provides the material for the accelerated development of oral and facial structures. The first arch region is massive in the early embryo, and the development of the olfactory placode and frontonasal region is advanced relative to the forebrain region. The development of the forebrain is delayed in marsupials relative to the hindbrain or facial region. These observations illustrate how development may be modified to produce evolutionary changes that distinguish taxa. Further, they suggest that development is not necessarily highly conserved, but instead may be quite plastic.

PMID:
11523813
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1594995
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Blackwell Publishing Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk