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Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2009 Nov;154(3):351-71. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2009.07.011. Epub 2009 Aug 7.

Molluscan shell evolution with review of shell calcification hypothesis.

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  • 1Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


Biomineralization research on mollusc shells has mostly focused on nacre formation. Chitin, silk fibroin protein, and acidic macromolecules are important components for shell formation. Although the principle concept behind shell calcification was developed many years ago, the individual components have not been well scrutinized. Besides that, Mollusca are the second largest invertebrate phylum, but comprehensive biochemical research involving a comparison of different taxa is still rare. This study reconsiders the above three components with adding some biochemical data of aculiferans. The presence of chitin in polyplacophorans sclerites was confirmed by IR and pyrolysis GC/MS. DMMB staining data inferred that sulphated groups present in aplacophoran cuticle but not in polyplacophorans cuticle. These insight suggested importance of comparison between acuriferans and conchiferans.

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