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Development. 2011 Apr;138(8):1447-58. doi: 10.1242/dev.048959. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

Evolutionary crossroads in developmental biology: Cnidaria.

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1
Department for Molecular Evolution and Development, Centre for Organismal Systems Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, Vienna, Austria. ulrich.technau@univie.ac.at

Abstract

There is growing interest in the use of cnidarians (corals, sea anemones, jellyfish and hydroids) to investigate the evolution of key aspects of animal development, such as the formation of the third germ layer (mesoderm), the nervous system and the generation of bilaterality. The recent sequencing of the Nematostella and Hydra genomes, and the establishment of methods for manipulating gene expression, have inspired new research efforts using cnidarians. Here, we present the main features of cnidarian models and their advantages for research, and summarize key recent findings using these models that have informed our understanding of the evolution of the developmental processes underlying metazoan body plan formation.

PMID:
21389047
PMCID:
PMC3062418
DOI:
10.1242/dev.048959
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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