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Nat Rev Genet. 2002 Dec;3(12):907-17.

Evolution of development in closely related species of flies and worms.

Author information

  • Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK. pas49@cam.ac.uk


One of the main challenges in evolutionary biology is to identify the molecular changes that underlie phenotypic differences that are of evolutionary significance. Comparative studies of early development have shown that changes in the spatio-temporal use of regulatory genes, as well as changes in the specificity of regulatory proteins, are correlated with important differences in morphology between phylogenetically distant species. However, it is not known how such changes take place in natural populations, and whether they result from a single, or many small, additive events. Extending this approach to the study of development of closely related species promises to enrich this debate.

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