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R.M. Andrews Patterns of embryonic development

Summary: R.M. Andrews
Patterns of embryonic development
R.M. Andrews
The embryology of reptiles is an important component of two emerging research
areas. One area is the result of the marriage of molecular and developmental biology.
Molecular biology has provided the tools to demonstrate the genetic commonality
of developmental patterns, and thus provides novel insights into the origin and
maintenance of structural diversity across the animal kingdom (Raff, 1996). Hox
genes are the master regulatory genes whose products are expressed in specific
locations on the long axis of embryos and so are the cornerstones of this
commonality. Hox genes, and the cascade of other regulatory and structural genes
that they affect, specify the axial pattern (trunk regionalisation and limb position)
during embryonic development. Mutations to Hox genes, thus, can alter the number
and position of structures and even determine whether some particular structure
develops at all. For example, studies on limb development have demonstrated that
modifications to Hox and associated regulatory genes provide a mechanistic
explanation for the absence of forelimbs and the extreme reduction in size of the
hindlimbs of pythons, and squamates with other reduced limbs (Cohn and Tickle,


Source: Andrews, Robin - Department of Biological Sciences, Virginia Tech


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology