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Dev Biol. 2005 Oct 1;286(1):57-77.

Insect appendages and comparative ontogenetics.

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Department of Biology, Indiana University, 1001 E. Third St., Bloomington, IN 47405-7005, USA.


It is arguable that the evolutionary and ecological success of insects is due in large part to the versatility of their articulated appendages. Recent advances in our understanding of appendage development in Drosophila melanogaster, as well as functional and expression studies in other insect species have begun to frame the general themes of appendage development in the insects. Here, we review current studies that provide for a comparison of limb developmental mechanisms acting at five levels: (1) the specification of ventral appendage primordia; (2) specification of the limb axes; (3) regulation and interactions of genes expressed in specific domains of the proximal-distal axis, such as Distal-less; (4) the specification of appendage identity; and (5) genetic regulation of appendage allometry.

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