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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2001 Oct 29;356(1414):1521-31.

On the evolution of early development in the Nematoda.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, CB3280, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


The phylum Nematoda serves as an excellent model system for exploring how development evolves, using a comparative approach to developmental genetics. More than 100 laboratories are studying developmental mechanisms in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, and many of the methods that have been developed for C. elegans can be applied to other nematodes. This review summarizes what is known so far about steps in early development that have evolved in the nematodes, and proposes potential experiments that could make use of these data to further our understanding of how development evolves. The promise of such a comparative approach to developmental genetics is to fill a wide gap in our understanding of evolution--a gap spanning from mutations in developmental genes through to their phenotypic results, on which natural selection may act.

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