Body plan evolution not as simple as once believed

phys.org | 6/15/2011 | Staff
j.moomin (Posted by) Level 3
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The role of Hox genes in changing the layout of different body parts during evolution has been challenged by a study led by researchers out of the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Biological Sciences.

Hox genes are vital to developing differences in repeated body parts such as vertebrae, limbs, or digits in most animal species, including human beings. Ever since their discovery, scientists have thought that modifications to Hox genes could be the primary way that the animal body plan has been altered during evolution.

Paper - Changes - Network - Contribution - Hox

The paper, "Changes throughout a genetic network masks the contribution of Hox gene evolution," discusses experiments that pinpoint evolutionary changes in a Hox gene, but found that several other genes had evolved alongside it to generate a difference in pigmentation along the fruit fly body plan. The paper was published in Current Biology June 27.

The experiment identified evolutionary modifications in Hox gene Abd-B that caused a drastic loss of expression on the body of the Dropsophila santomea (D. santomea) fruit fly....
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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