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Modularity of gene-regulatory networks revealed in sea-star development

Carmel McDougall and Bernard M Degnan*

Author Affiliations

1Centre for Marine Science, School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane 4072, Australia

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BMC Biology 2011, 9:6  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-9-6

Published: 31 January 2011


Evidence that conserved developmental gene-regulatory networks can change as a unit during deutersostome evolution emerges from a study published in BMC Biology. This shows that genes consistently expressed in anterior brain patterning in hemichordates and chordates are expressed in a similar spatial pattern in another deuterostome, an asteroid echinoderm (sea star), but in a completely different developmental context (the animal-vegetal axis). This observation has implications for hypotheses on the type of development present in the deuterostome common ancestor.

See research article: webcite