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Cells Tissues Organs. 2008;187(1):6-12. Epub 2007 Dec 11.

Molecular determinants of bat wing development.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Pediatrics Department, University of Colorado at Denver, Denver, USA. kesears@alumni.uchicago.edu

Abstract

The specialization of the forelimb into a wing allowed bats to become the only mammals to achieve powered flight. Recent studies in developmental biology have begun to elucidate the molecular mechanisms behind elements of this important morphological transformation. Specifically, researchers have identified molecular changes contributing to: the formation of the bat wing membrane, the elongation of skeletal elements of the bat wing and the reduction of the bat ulna. The general picture emerging from this research is that small changes in the expression of genes critical to many aspects of development have driven large changes in bat wing morphology. Thus, bats can be added to the growing list of groups in which expression changes in key developmental genes have been linked to the evolution of morphological innovations (e.g. early bilaterians, cetaceans, insects).

PMID:
18160799
DOI:
10.1159/000109959
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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