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PLoS Biol. 2008 Nov 18;6(11):e278. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060278.

A novel gene family controls species-specific morphological traits in Hydra.

Author information

1
Zoological Institute, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel, Germany.

Abstract

Understanding the molecular events that underlie the evolution of morphological diversity is a major challenge in biology. Here, to identify genes whose expression correlates with species-specific morphologies, we compared transcriptomes of two closely related Hydra species. We find that species-specific differences in tentacle formation correlate with expression of a taxonomically restricted gene encoding a small secreted protein. We show that gain of function induces changes in morphology that mirror the phenotypic differences observed between species. These results suggest that "novel" genes may be involved in the generation of species-specific morphological traits.

PMID:
19018660
PMCID:
PMC2586386
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pbio.0060278
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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