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Dev Biol. 2005 Apr 15;280(2):249-59.

Evolution of the brain developmental plan: Insights from agnathans.

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  • 1Institut de Génétique et de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, UMR 7104, CNRS/INSERM/ULP, Illkirch Cedex, CU de Strasbourg, France.


In vertebrate evolution, the brain exhibits both conserved and unique morphological features in each animal group. Thus, the molecular program of nervous system development is expected to have experienced various changes through evolution. In this review, we discuss recent data from the agnathan lamprey (jawless vertebrate) together with available information from amphioxus and speculate the sequence of changes during chordate evolution that have been brought into the brain developmental plan to yield the current variety of the gnathostome (jawed vertebrate) brains.

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