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Nat Rev Genet. 2003 Apr;4(4):285-95.

The ascidian tadpole larva: comparative molecular development and genomics.

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Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8502, Japan.


Evolution is of interest not only to developmental biology but also to genetics and genomics. We are witnessing a new era in which evolution, development, genetics and genomics are merging to form a new discipline, a good example of which is the study of the origin and evolution of the chordates. Recent studies on the formation of the notochord and the dorsal neural tube in the increasingly famous Ciona intestinalis tadpole larva, and the availability of its draft genome, show how the combination of comparative molecular development and evolutionary genomics might help us to better understand our chordate ancestor.

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