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the modern study of evolution and development


molecular pathways that determine different developmental processes operate independently from one another.

morphological differences between species

due to differences in their genomes (what happens due to...?)

genomes of different species share

similar regulatory and coding sequences

gene that controls eyes in fruit flies


gene that controls eyes in mice


Hox gene cluster

provides positional information and control pattern formation in early Drosophila embryos

developmental modules

functional entities encompassing genes and various signaling pathways that determine physical structures such as body segments and legs.


gene that encodes for protein that triggers cell death - as in unwebbed feet

Gremlin gene

gene in ducks that represses BMP4, stops apoptosis, and results in webbed feet


a period of developmental or reproductive arrest that allows the organism to better survive

developmental plasticity

The capacity of an organism to alter its pattern of development in response to environmental conditions.


Alteration in the timing of developmental events, leading to different results in the adult organism.

developmental module

A functional entity in the embryo encompassing genes and signaling pathways that determine a physical structure independently of other such modules.

genetic toolkit

In evolutionary developmental biology, DNA sequences controlling developmental mechanisms that have been conserved over evolutionary time.

homologous genes

evolved from a gene present in a common ancestor.

example of heterochrony

human necks vs. giraffe necks

example of spatial expression pattern

duck's feet versus chicken's feet

DII gene

expression promotes formation of legs in centipedes

Ubx protein

activates DII gene (legs in centipedes)

6-legged, like insects

result of repression of DII by a modified Ubx protein


converts testosterone to estrogen.

if aromatase is expressed

estrogens dominate; female organs develop.

if aromatase is not expressed

testosterone dominates, and male organs develop.

Sonic Hedgehog gene

loss of expression equalled loss of legs in ancestors of genes

Parallel phenotypic evolution

highly conserved developmental genes make it likely that similar traits will evolve repeatedly.

Pitx 1 gene

when expressed, develops spines.

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