Format

Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Dev Biol. 2010 Jan 1;337(1):157-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.09.038. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

Hierarchical evolution of animal body plans.

Author information

  • 1Department of Physics & Astronomy, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA.

Abstract

An open question in animal evolution is why the phylum- and superphylum-level body plans have changed so little, while the class- and family-level body plans have changed so greatly since the early Cambrian. Davidson and Erwin (Davidson and Erwin, 2006; Erwin and Davidson, 2009) proposed that the hierarchical structure of gene regulatory networks leads to different observed evolutionary rates for terminal properties of the body plan versus major aspects of body plan morphology. Here, we calculated the speed of evolution of genes in these gene regulatory networks. We found that the genes which determine the phylum and superphylum characters evolve slowly, while those genes which determine the classes, families, and speciation evolve more rapidly. This result furnishes genetic support to the hypothesis that the hierarchical structure of developmental regulatory networks provides an organizing structure which guides the evolution of aspects of the body plan.

PMID:
19799894
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk