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Science. 1998 Dec 11;282(5396):2033-41.

The taxonomy of developmental control in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA. ruvkun@frodo.mgh.harvard.edu


The Caenorhabditis elegans genome sequence was surveyed for transcription factor and signaling gene families that have been shown to regulate development in a variety of species. About 10 to 25 percent of the genes in most of the gene families already have been genetically analyzed in C. elegans, about half of the genes detect probable orthologs in other species, and about 10 to 25 percent of the genes are, at present, unique to C. elegans. Caenorhabditis elegans is also missing genes that are found in vertebrates and other invertebrates. Thus the genome sequence reveals universals in developmental control that are the legacy of metazoan complexity before the Cambrian explosion, as well as genes that have been more recently invented or lost in particular phylogenetic lineages.

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