From Lizard to Snake; Behind the Evolution of an Extreme Body Plan

Author(s): Joost M. Woltering.

Journal Name: Current Genomics

Volume 13 , Issue 4 , 2012

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The elongated, snake-like skeleton, as it has convergently evolved in numerous reptilian and amphibian lineages, is from a developmental biologist’s point of view amongst the most fascinating anatomical peculiarities in the animal kingdom. This type of body plan is characterized by a greatly increased number of vertebrae, a reduction of skeletal regionalization along the primary body axis and loss of the limbs. Recent studies conducted on both mouse and snakes now hint at how changes inside the gene regulatory circuitries of the Hox genes and the somitogenesis clock likely underlie these striking departures from standard tetrapod morphology, suggesting scenarios by which snakes and other elongated species may have evolved from more ordinarily bodied ancestors.

Keywords: Snake, caecilian, body plan, hox, somitogenesis, limb, evo-devo, body elongation, skeletal regionalization, gene regulatory circuitries

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Article Details

Year: 2012
Page: [289 - 299]
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.2174/138920212800793302
Price: $58

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PDF: 10