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Evo-devo Gene Toolkit
The evo-devo gene toolkit is the small subset of genes in an organism's genome whose products control the organism's embryonic development. Toolkit genes are central to the synthesis of molecular genetics, palaeontology, evolution and developmental biology in the science of evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo). Many of them are ancient and highly conserved among animal phyla. Toolkit Toolkit genes are highly conserved among phyla, meaning that they are ancient, dating back to the last common ancestor of bilaterian animals. For example, that ancestor had at least 7 Pax genes for transcription factors. Differences in deployment of toolkit genes affect the body plan and the number, identity, and pattern of body parts. The majority of toolkit genes are components of signaling pathways and encode for the production of transcription factors, cell adhesion proteins, cell surface receptor proteins (and signalling ligands that bind to them), and secreted morphogens; all of ...
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Evolutionary Developmental Biology
Evolutionary developmental biology (informally, evo-devo) is a field of biological research that compares the developmental processes of different organisms to infer how developmental processes evolved. The field grew from 19th-century beginnings, where embryology faced a mystery: zoologists did not know how embryonic development was controlled at the molecular level. Charles Darwin noted that having similar embryos implied common ancestry, but little progress was made until the 1970s. Then, recombinant DNA technology at last brought embryology together with molecular genetics. A key early discovery was of homeotic genes that regulate development in a wide range of eukaryotes. The field is composed of multiple core evolutionary concepts. One is deep homology, the finding that dissimilar organs such as the eyes of insects, vertebrates and cephalopod molluscs, long thought to have evolved separately, are controlled by similar genes such as '' pax-6'', from the evo-devo gen ...
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Body Plan
A body plan, ( ), or ground plan is a set of morphological features common to many members of a phylum of animals. The vertebrates share one body plan, while invertebrates have many. This term, usually applied to animals, envisages a "blueprint" encompassing aspects such as symmetry, layers, segmentation, nerve, limb, and gut disposition. Evolutionary developmental biology seeks to explain the origins of diverse body plans. Body plans have historically been considered to have evolved in a flash in the Ediacaran biota; filling the Cambrian explosion with the results, and a more nuanced understanding of animal evolution suggests gradual development of body plans throughout the early Palaeozoic. Recent studies in animals and plants started to investigate whether evolutionary constraints on body plan structures can explain the presence of developmental constraints during embryogenesis such as the phenomenon referred to as phylotypic stage. History Among the pioneering zoologist ...
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Squamata
Squamata (, Latin ''squamatus'', 'scaly, having scales') is the largest order of reptiles, comprising lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians (worm lizards), which are collectively known as squamates or scaled reptiles. With over 10,900 species, it is also the second-largest order of extant (living) vertebrates, after the perciform fish. Members of the order are distinguished by their skins, which bear horny scales or shields, and must periodically engage in molting. They also possess movable quadrate bones, making possible movement of the upper jaw relative to the neurocranium. This is particularly visible in snakes, which are able to open their mouths very wide to accommodate comparatively large prey. Squamata is the most variably sized order of reptiles, ranging from the dwarf gecko (''Sphaerodactylus ariasae'') to the Reticulated python (''Malayopython reticulatus'') and the now-extinct mosasaurs, which reached lengths over . Among other reptiles, squamates are most closel ...
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Snake
Snakes are elongated, limbless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes . Like all other squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales. Many species of snakes have skulls with several more joints than their lizard ancestors, enabling them to swallow prey much larger than their heads (cranial kinesis). To accommodate their narrow bodies, snakes' paired organs (such as kidneys) appear one in front of the other instead of side by side, and most have only one functional lung. Some species retain a pelvic girdle with a pair of vestigial claws on either side of the cloaca. Lizards have evolved elongate bodies without limbs or with greatly reduced limbs about twenty-five times independently via convergent evolution, leading to many lineages of legless lizards. These resemble snakes, but several common groups of legless lizards have eyelids and external ears, which snakes lack, although this rule is not universal (see Amphisbaenia, Diba ...
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Bone Morphogenetic Protein
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are a group of growth factors also known as cytokines and as metabologens. Originally discovered by their ability to induce the formation of bone and cartilage, BMPs are now considered to constitute a group of pivotal morphogenetic signals, orchestrating tissue architecture throughout the body. The important functioning of BMP signals in physiology is emphasized by the multitude of roles for dysregulated BMP signalling in pathological processes. Cancerous disease often involves misregulation of the BMP signalling system. Absence of BMP signalling is, for instance, an important factor in the progression of colon cancer, and conversely, overactivation of BMP signalling following reflux-induced esophagitis provokes Barrett's esophagus and is thus instrumental in the development of esophageal adenocarcinoma. Recombinant human BMPs (rhBMPs) are used in orthopedic applications such as spinal fusions, nonunions, and oral surgery. rhBMP-2 and rhBMP-7 ar ...
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Large Ground-finch
The large ground finch (''Geospiza magnirostris'') is a species of bird. One of Darwin's finches, it is now placed in the family Thraupidae and was formerly in the Emberizidae. It is endemic Endemism is the state of a species being found in a single defined geographic location, such as an island, state, nation, country or other defined zone; organisms that are indigenous to a place are not endemic to it if they are also found else ... to the Galapagos Islands, and is found in the arid zone of most of the archipelago, though it is absent from the southeastern islands ( Floreana, Española, San Cristóbal, and Santa Fé). It is the largest species of Darwin's finch both in total size and size of beak. It has a large, short beak for cracking nuts to get food. Gallery File:Large ground finch (4229044630).jpg, left, Large ground finch File:Geospiza magnirostris.jpg, left, One of Darwin's finches. Charles and Chatham Islands, Galapagos Archipelago. References Geospiza ...
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Drosophila
''Drosophila'' () is a genus of flies, belonging to the family Drosophilidae, whose members are often called "small fruit flies" or (less frequently) pomace flies, vinegar flies, or wine flies, a reference to the characteristic of many species to linger around overripe or rotting fruit. They should not be confused with the Tephritidae, a related family, which are also called fruit flies (sometimes referred to as "true fruit flies"); tephritids feed primarily on unripe or ripe fruit, with many species being regarded as destructive agricultural pests, especially the Mediterranean fruit fly. One species of ''Drosophila'' in particular, '' D. melanogaster'', has been heavily used in research in genetics and is a common model organism in developmental biology. The terms "fruit fly" and "''Drosophila''" are often used synonymously with ''D. melanogaster'' in modern biological literature. The entire genus, however, contains more than 1,500 species and is very diverse in appearance, beh ...
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Pax6
Paired box protein Pax-6, also known as aniridia type II protein (AN2) or oculorhombin, is a protein that in humans is encoded by the ''PAX6'' gene. Function PAX6 is a member of the Pax gene family which is responsible for carrying the genetic information that will encode the Pax-6 protein. It acts as a "master control" gene for the development of eyes and other sensory organs, certain neural and epidermal tissues as well as other homologous structures, usually derived from ectodermal tissues. However, it has been recognized that a suite of genes is necessary for eye development, and therefore the term of "master control" gene may be inaccurate. Pax-6 is expressed as a transcription factor when neural ectoderm receives a combination of weak Sonic hedgehog (SHH) and strong TGF-Beta signaling gradients. Expression is first seen in the forebrain, hindbrain, head ectoderm and spinal cord followed by later expression in midbrain. This transcription factor is most noted for ...
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Paradigm
In science and philosophy, a paradigm () is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitute legitimate contributions to a field. Etymology ''Paradigm'' comes from Greek παράδειγμα (''paradeigma''), "pattern, example, sample" from the verb παραδείκνυμι (''paradeiknumi''), "exhibit, represent, expose" and that from παρά (''para''), "beside, beyond" and δείκνυμι (''deiknumi''), "to show, to point out". In classical (Greek-based) rhetoric, a paradeigma aims to provide an audience with an illustration of a similar occurrence. This illustration is not meant to take the audience to a conclusion, however it is used to help guide them get there. One way of how a ''paradeigma'' is meant to guide an audience would be exemplified by the role of a personal accountant. It is not the job of a personal accountant to tell a client exactly what (and what not) to spend money o ...
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Larva
A larva (; plural larvae ) is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle. The larva's appearance is generally very different from the adult form (''e.g.'' caterpillars and butterflies) including different unique structures and organs that do not occur in the adult form. Their diet may also be considerably different. Larvae are frequently adapted to different environments than adults. For example, some larvae such as tadpoles live almost exclusively in aquatic environments, but can live outside water as adult frogs. By living in a distinct environment, larvae may be given shelter from predators and reduce competition for resources with the adult population. Animals in the larval stage will consume food to fuel their transition into the adult form. In some organisms like polychaetes and barnacles, adults are immob ...
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Embryo
An embryo is an initial stage of development of a multicellular organism. In organisms that reproduce sexually, embryonic development is the part of the life cycle that begins just after fertilization of the female egg cell by the male sperm cell. The resulting fusion of these two cells produces a single-celled zygote that undergoes many cell divisions that produce cells known as blastomeres. The blastomeres are arranged as a solid ball that when reaching a certain size, called a morula, takes in fluid to create a cavity called a blastocoel. The structure is then termed a blastula, or a blastocyst in mammals. The mammalian blastocyst hatches before implantating into the endometrial lining of the womb. Once implanted the embryo will continue its development through the next stages of gastrulation, neurulation, and organogenesis. Gastrulation is the formation of the three germ layers that will form all of the different parts of the body. Neurulation forms the nervous syste ...
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