36 - evolution of development = evo-devo

36 - evolution of development = evo-devo - BIOLOGY 325H...

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BIOLOGY 325H Evolution of Development April 23, 2008 It is the development of egg to embryo to adult that shapes the structure and physiology of a multicellular organism, and as a result evolutionary changes in the shape of the body or the function of its parts often occurs through the appearance and eventual fixation of mutations that alter the process of development. Biologists have appreciated the importance of this interface between evolution and development for two centuries, but it is only in the past two decades that it has become technologically possible to identify specific changes in the DNA sequence of genes that correlate with - and hopefully explain - evolutionary changes that occurred in the shape of animal body plans at distant times in the past. Learning Goals 1. The Pax6 gene is necessary for the development of what organ in both flies and mice? Is expression of the Pax6 gene sufficient for the formation of this organ in both flies and mice? What is the evidence that the Pax6 protein is functionally conserved between these two species, whose last common ancestor lived more than 500 million years ago? 2. What kind of proteins are encoded by the Hox genes? The Drosophila contains a total of 8 distinct Hox genes. In general terms, what is the expression pattern of these genes along the anteroposterior axis of the fly embryo? How does this expression pattern help to explain the fact that these genes control "segment identity", i.e. the fact that each body segment develops certain unique structural features? 3. What is different about the wings of flies (= Diptera) compared to other insects? How does this structural difference correlate with a difference in the expression pattern of the Ultrabithorax ( Ubx ) gene in the embryo? In the fly, what function does the UBX protein have in the T3 segment that affects wing development? 4. The
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36 - evolution of development = evo-devo - BIOLOGY 325H...

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