Subjects -> PALEONTOLOGY (Total: 43 journals)
Showing 1 - 21 of 21 Journals sorted alphabetically
Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 6)
Ameghiniana     Open Access  
Annales de Paléontologie     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 4)
Annals of Carnegie Museum     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 1)
Boreas: An International Journal of Quaternary Research     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 13)
Comptes Rendus Palevol     Open Access  
European Journal of Protistology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
EvoDevo     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
Facies     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 9)
Fossil Record     Open Access   (Followers: 5)
Geobios     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 4)
Geologica Saxonica     Open Access   (Followers: 2)
Historical Biology: An International Journal of Paleobiology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 9)
Ichnos: An International Journal for Plant and Animal Traces     Hybrid Journal  
International Journal of Speleology     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Journal of Paleolimnology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 5)
Journal of Paleontology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 8)
Journal of Quaternary Science     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 31)
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 8)
Marine Micropaleontology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 2)
Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie - Abhandlungen     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 3)
Novitates Paleoentomologicae     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Open Quaternary     Open Access  
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 13)
Palaeontographica A     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 3)
Palaeontology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 17)
Palaeoworld     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 3)
Paläontologische Zeitschrift     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
Paleobiology     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 6)
PaleoBios     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 5)
Paleontological Journal     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 4)
Palynology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
Papers in Palaeontology     Hybrid Journal  
Peer Community Journal     Open Access   (Followers: 4)
Quaternaire     Open Access   (Followers: 3)
Quaternary Research     Full-text available via subscription   (Followers: 19)
Quaternary Science Reviews     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 26)
Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 1)
Revue de Micropaleontologie     Full-text available via subscription  
Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia (Research In Paleontology and Stratigraphy)     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Spanish Journal of Palaeontology     Open Access  
Swiss Journal of Palaeontology     Hybrid Journal   (Followers: 4)
Vertebrate Anatomy Morphology Palaeontology     Open Access   (Followers: 1)
Zitteliana     Open Access  
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Journal Prestige (SJR): 2.062
Citation Impact (citeScore): 3
Number of Followers: 4  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2041-9139
Published by Springer-Verlag Homepage  [2469 journals]
  • Phloem wedges in Malpighiaceae: origin, structure, diversification, and
           systematic relevance

    • Abstract: Background Phloem wedges furrowing the wood are one of the most notorious, widespread types of cambial variants in Angiosperms. Many lianas in Malpighiaceae show these variations in the arrangement of the secondary tissues. Here we explore their ontogeny, structure, and evolution in Malpighiaceae, where phloem wedges appeared multiple times, showing how they have contributed to the anatomical diversification of the family. Using a broad sampling with 143 species from 50 genera, covering all major lineages in Malpighiaceae, we crossed data from ontogeny, stem anatomy, and phylogenetic comparative methods to determine ontogenetic trajectories, final anatomical architectures, and evolution within the most recent phylogeny for the family. Results Phloem wedges appeared exclusively in lianas and disappeared in shrub lineages nested within liana lineages. At the onset of development, the vascular cambium is regular, producing secondary tissues homogeneously across its girth, but soon, portions of the cambium in between the leaf insertions switch their activity producing less wood and more phloem, initially generating phloem arcs, which progress into phloem wedges. In the formation of these wedges, two ontogenetic trajectories were found, one that maintains the continuity of the cambium, and another where the cambium gets dissected. Phloem wedges frequently remain as the main cambial variant in several lineages, while in others there are additional steps toward more complex cambial variants, such as fissured stems, or included phloem wedges, the latter a novel type of interxylary phloem first described for the family. Conclusions Phloem wedges evolved exclusively in lianas, with two different ontogenies explaining the 10 independent origins of phloem wedges in Malpighiaceae. The presence of phloem wedges has favored the evolution of even more complex cambial variants such as fissured stems and interxylary phloem.
      PubDate: 2022-04-28
  • Fleshy or dry: transcriptome analyses reveal the genetic mechanisms
           underlying bract development in Ephedra

    • Abstract: Background Gnetales have a key phylogenetic position in the evolution of seed plants. Among the Gnetales, there is an extraordinary morphological diversity of seeds, the genus Ephedra, in particular, exhibits fleshy, coriaceous or winged (dry) seeds. Despite this striking diversity, its underlying genetic mechanisms remain poorly understood due to the limited studies in gymnosperms. Expanding the genomic and developmental data from gymnosperms contributes to a better understanding of seed evolution and development. Results We performed transcriptome analyses on different plant tissues of two Ephedra species with different seed morphologies. Anatomical observations in early developing ovules, show that differences in the seed morphologies are established early in their development. The transcriptomic analyses in dry-seeded Ephedra californica and fleshy-seeded Ephedra antisyphilitica, allowed us to identify the major differences between the differentially expressed genes in these species. We detected several genes known to be involved in fruit ripening as upregulated in the fleshy seed of Ephedra antisyphilitica. Conclusions This study allowed us to determine the differentially expressed genes involved in seed development of two Ephedra species. Furthermore, the results of this study of seeds with the enigmatic morphology in Ephedra californica and Ephedra antisyphilitica, allowed us to corroborate the hypothesis which suggest that the extra envelopes covering the seeds of Gnetales are not genetically similar to integument. Our results highlight the importance of carrying out studies on less explored species such as gymnosperms, to gain a better understanding of the evolutionary history of plants.
      PubDate: 2022-04-27
  • The diversity and evolution of electric organs in Neotropical knifefishes

    • Abstract: Abstract The Gymnotiformes, also known as the South American or Neotropical knifefishes, include the strongly electric Electrophorus electricus and many other weakly electric species. These fish possess specialised electric organs that are able to release electric discharges into the water, for electrolocation and communication, and sometimes for predation and defence. All Gymnotiform species possess a myogenic electric organ (mEO) derived from the muscle tissue, and members of the Apteronotidae family uniquely possess a neurogenic electric organ (nEOs) derived from the nervous tissue. A mEO may consist of ‘Type A’ electrocytes that develop within the tail muscle (for example, in Apteronotus leptorhynchus), or ‘Type B’ electrocytes that develop below the tail muscle (for example, in Brachyhypopomus gauderio). In this review, we discuss the diversity in the anatomy, electric discharge and development of electric organs found in different Gymnotiform species, as well as the ecological and environmental factors that have likely contributed to this diversity. We then describe various hypotheses regarding the evolution of electric organs, and discuss the potential evolutionary origin of the nEO: a pair of nerve cords that are located on either side of the aorta in B. gauderio, and which may have expanded and developed into a nEO in the Apteronotidae family during its evolution from a common ancestral species. Finally, we compare potential Gymnotiform phylogenies and their supporting evidence.
      PubDate: 2022-04-01
  • Fossils and plant evolution: structural fingerprints and modularity in the
           evo-devo paradigm

    • Abstract: Abstract Fossils constitute the principal repository of data that allow for independent tests of hypotheses of biological evolution derived from observations of the extant biota. Traditionally, transformational series of structure, consisting of sequences of fossils of the same lineage through time, have been employed to reconstruct and interpret morphological evolution. More recently, a move toward an updated paradigm was fueled by the deliberate integration of developmental thinking in the inclusion of fossils in reconstruction of morphological evolution. The vehicle for this is provided by structural fingerprints—recognizable morphological and anatomical structures generated by (and reflective of) the deployment of specific genes and regulatory pathways during development. Furthermore, because the regulation of plant development is both modular and hierarchical in nature, combining structural fingerprints recognized in the fossil record with our understanding of the developmental regulation of those structures produces a powerful tool for understanding plant evolution. This is particularly true when the systematic distribution of specific developmental regulatory mechanisms and modules is viewed within an evolutionary (paleo-evo-devo) framework. Here, we discuss several advances in understanding the processes and patterns of evolution, achieved by tracking structural fingerprints with their underlying regulatory modules across lineages, living and fossil: the role of polar auxin regulation in the cellular patterning of secondary xylem and the parallel evolution of arborescence in lycophytes and seed plants; the morphology and life history of early polysporangiophytes and tracheophytes; the role of modularity in the parallel evolution of leaves in euphyllophytes; leaf meristematic activity and the parallel evolution of venation patterns among euphyllophytes; mosaic deployment of regulatory modules and the diverse modes of secondary growth of euphyllophytes; modularity and hierarchy in developmental regulation and the evolution of equisetalean reproductive morphology. More generally, inclusion of plant fossils in the evo-devo paradigm has informed discussions on the evolution of growth patterns and growth responses, sporophyte body plans and their homology, sequences of character evolution, and the evolution of reproductive systems.
      PubDate: 2022-03-02
  • Heterochrony and repurposing in the evolution of gymnosperm seed dispersal

    • Abstract: Background Plant dispersal units, or diaspores, allow the colonization of new environments expanding geographic range and promoting gene flow. Two broad categories of diaspores found in seed plants are dry and fleshy, associated with abiotic and biotic dispersal agents, respectively. Anatomy and developmental genetics of fleshy angiosperm fruits is advanced in contrast to the knowledge gap for analogous fleshy structures in gymnosperm diaspores. Improved understanding of the structural basis of modified accessory organs that aid in seed dispersal will enable future work on the underlying genetics, contributing to hypotheses on the origin of angiosperm fruits. To generate a structural framework for the development and evolution of gymnosperm fleshy diaspores, we studied the anatomy and histochemistry of Ephedra (Gnetales) seed cone bracts, the modified leaves surrounding the reproductive organs. We took an ontogenetic approach, comparing and contrasting the anatomy and histology of fleshy and papery-winged seed cone bracts, and their respective pollen cone bracts and leaves in four species from the South American clade. Results Seed bract fleshiness in Ephedra derives from mucilage accumulated in chlorenchyma cells, also found in the reduced young leaves before they reach their mature, dry stage. Cellulosic fibers, an infrequent cell type in gymnosperms, were found in Ephedra, where they presumably function as a source of supplementary apoplastic water in fleshy seed cone bracts. Papery-winged bract development more closely resembles that of leaves, with chlorenchyma mucilage cells turning into tanniniferous cells early on, and hyaline margins further extending into “wings”. Conclusions We propose an evolutionary developmental model whereby fleshy and papery-winged bracts develop from an early-stage anatomy shared with leaves that differs at the pollination stage. The ancestral fleshy bract state may represent a novel differentiation program built upon young leaf anatomy, while the derived dry, papery-winged state is likely built upon an existing differentiation pattern found in mature vegetative leaves. This model for the evolution of cone bract morphology in South American Ephedra hence involves a novel differentiation program repurposed from leaves combined with changes in the timing of leaf differentiation, or heterochrony, that can further be tested in other gymnosperms with fleshy diaspores.
      PubDate: 2022-02-16
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-022-00191-8
  • Correction to: Delayed differentiation of epidermal cells walls can
           underlie pedomorphosis in plants: the case of pedomorphic petals in the
           hummingbird-pollinated Caiophora hibiscifolia (Loasaceae, subfam.
           Loasoideae) species

    • PubDate: 2022-02-15
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-022-00193-6
  • Duplication and expression patterns of CYCLOIDEA-like genes in

    • Abstract: Background CYCLOIDEA (CYC)-like transcription factors pattern floral symmetry in most angiosperms. In core eudicots, two duplications led to three clades of CYC-like genes: CYC1, CYC2, and CYC3, with orthologs of the CYC2 clade restricting expression dorsally in bilaterally symmetrical flowers. Limited data from CYC3 suggest that they also play a role in flower symmetry in some asterids. We examine the evolution of these genes in Campanulaceae, a group that contains broad transitions between radial and bilateral floral symmetry and 180° resupination (turning upside-down by twisting pedicle). Results We identify here all three paralogous CYC-like clades across Campanulaceae. Similar to other core eudicots, we show that CamCYC2 duplicated near the time of the divergence of the bilaterally symmetrical and resupinate Lobelioideae. However, in non-resupinate, bilaterally symmetrical Cyphioideae, CamCYC2 appears to have been lost and CamCYC3 duplicated, suggesting a novel genetic basis for bilateral symmetry in Cyphioideae. We additionally, utilized qRT-PCR to examine the correlation between CYC-like gene expression and shifts in flower morphology in four species of Lobelioideae. As expected, CamCYC2 gene expression was dorsoventrally restricted in bilateral symmetrical flowers. However, because Lobelioideae have resupinate flowers, both CamCYC2A and CamCYC2B are highly expressed in the finally positioned ventral petal lobes, corresponding to the adaxial side of the flower relative to meristem orientation. Conclusions Our sequences across Campanulaceae of all three of these paralogous groups suggests that radially symmetrical Campanuloideae duplicated CYC1, Lobelioideae duplicated CYC2 and lost CYC3 early in their divergence, and that Cyphioideae lost CYC2 and duplicated CYC3. This suggests a dynamic pattern of duplication and loss of major floral patterning genes in this group and highlights the first case of a loss of CYC2 in a bilaterally symmetrical group. We illustrate here that CYC expression is conserved along the dorsoventral axis of the flower even as it turns upside-down, suggesting that at least late CYC expression is not regulated by extrinsic factors such as gravity. We additionally show that while the pattern of dorsoventral expression of each paralog remains the same, CamCYC2A is more dominant in species with shorter relative finally positioned dorsal lobes, and CamCYC2B is more dominant in species with long dorsal lobes.
      PubDate: 2022-02-06
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00189-8
  • A CYC–RAD–DIV–DRIF interaction likely pre-dates the origin of floral
           monosymmetry in Lamiales

    • Abstract: Background An outstanding question in evolutionary biology is how genetic interactions defining novel traits evolve. They may evolve either by de novo assembly of previously non-interacting genes or by en bloc co-option of interactions from other functions. We tested these hypotheses in the context of a novel phenotype—Lamiales flower monosymmetry—defined by a developmental program that relies on regulatory interaction among CYCLOIDEA, RADIALIS, DIVARICATA, and DRIF gene products. In Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon), representing Lamiales, we tested whether components of this program likely function beyond their previously known role in petal and stamen development. In Solanum lycopersicum (tomato), representing Solanales which diverged from Lamiales before the origin of Lamiales floral monosymmetry, we additionally tested for regulatory interactions in this program. Results We found that RADIALIS, DIVARICATA, and DRIF are expressed in snapdragon ovaries and developing fruit, similar to their homologs during tomato fruit development. In addition, we found that a tomato CYCLOIDEA ortholog positively regulates a tomato RADIALIS ortholog. Conclusion Our results provide preliminary support to the hypothesis that the developmental program defining floral monosymmetry in Lamiales was co-opted en bloc from a function in carpel development. This expands our understanding of novel trait evolution facilitated by co-option of existing regulatory interactions.
      PubDate: 2022-01-29
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00187-w
  • Linking the evolution of development of stem vascular system in
           Nyctaginaceae and its correlation to habit and species diversification

    • Abstract: Background Alternative patterns of secondary growth in stems of Nyctaginaceae is present in all growth habits of the family and have been known for a long time. However, the interpretation of types of cambial variants have been controversial, given that different authors have given them different developmental interpretations. The different growth habits coupled with an enormous stem anatomical diversity offers the unique opportunity to investigate the evolution of complex developments, to address how these anatomies shifted within habits, and how the acquisition of novel cambial variants and habit transitions impacted the diversification of the family. Methods We integrated developmental data with a phylogenetic framework to investigate the diversity and evolution of stem anatomy in Nyctaginaceae using phylogenetic comparative methods, reconstructing ancestral states, and examining whether anatomical shifts correspond to species diversification rate shifts in the family. Results Two types of cambial variants, interxylary phloem and successive cambia, were recorded in Nyctaginaceae, which result from four different ontogenies. These ontogenetic trajectories depart from two distinct primary vascular structures (regular or polycyclic eustele) yet, they contain shared developmental stages which generate stem morphologies with deconstructed boundaries of morphological categories (continuum morphology). Unlike our a priori hypotheses, interxylary phloem is reconstructed as the ancestral character for the family, with three ontogenies characterized as successive cambia evolving in few taxa. Cambial variants are not contingent on habits, and their transitions are independent from species diversification. Conclusions Our findings suggest that multiple developmental mechanisms, such as heterochrony and heterotopy, generate the transitions between interxylary phloem and successive cambia. Intermediate between these two extremes are present in Nyctaginaceae, suggesting a continuum morphology across the family as a generator of anatomical diversity.
      PubDate: 2022-01-29
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00190-1
  • Evolution and expression of LEAFY genes in ferns and lycophytes

    • Abstract: Background The LEAFY (LFY) transcription factors are present in algae and across land plants. The available expression and functional data of these genes in embryophytes suggest that LFY genes control a plethora of processes including the first zygotic cell division in bryophytes, shoot cell divisions of the gametophyte and sporophyte in ferns, cone differentiation in gymnosperms and floral meristem identity in flowering plants. However, their putative plesiomorphic role in plant reproductive transition in vascular plants remains untested. Results We perform Maximum Likelihood (ML) phylogenetic analyses for the LFY gene lineage in embryophytes with expanded sampling in lycophytes and ferns. We recover the previously identified seed plant duplication that results in LEAFY and NEEDLY paralogs. In addition, we recover multiple species-specific duplications in ferns and lycophytes and large-scale duplications possibly correlated with the occurrence of whole genome duplication (WGD) events in Equisetales and Salviniales. To test putative roles in diverse ferns and lycophytes we perform LFY expression analyses in Adiantum raddianum, Equisetum giganteum and Selaginella moellendorffii. Our results show that LFY genes are active in vegetative and reproductive tissues, with higher expression in early fertile developmental stages and during sporangia differentiation. Conclusions Our data point to previously unrecognized roles of LFY genes in sporangia differentiation in lycophytes and ferns and suggests that functions linked to reproductive structure development are not exclusive to seed plant LFY homologs.
      PubDate: 2022-01-08
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00188-9
  • Delayed differentiation of epidermal cells walls can underlie
           pedomorphosis in plants: the case of pedomorphic petals in the
           hummingbird-pollinated Caiophora hibiscifolia (Loasaceae, subfam.
           Loasoideae) species

    • Abstract: Background Understanding the relationship between macroevolutionary diversity and variation in organism development is an important goal of evolutionary biology. Variation in the morphology of several plant and animal lineages is attributed to pedomorphosis, a case of heterochrony, where an ancestral juvenile shape is retained in an adult descendant. Pedomorphosis facilitated morphological adaptation in different plant lineages, but its cellular and molecular basis needs further exploration. Plant development differs from animal development in that cells are enclosed by cell walls and do not migrate. Moreover, in many plant lineages, the differentiated epidermis of leaves, and leaf-derived structures, such as petals, limits organ growth. We, therefore, proposed that pedomorphosis in leaves, and in leaf-derived structures, results from delayed differentiation of epidermal cells with respect to reproductive maturity. This idea was explored for petal evolution, given the importance of corolla morphology for angiosperm reproductive success. Results By comparing cell morphology and transcriptional profiles between 5 mm flower buds and mature flowers of an entomophile and an ornitophile Loasoideae species (a lineage that experienced transitions from bee- to hummingbird-pollination), we show that evolution of pedomorphic petals of the ornithophile species likely involved delayed differentiation of epidermal cells with respect to flower maturity. We also found that developmental mechanisms other than pedomorphosis might have contributed to evolution of corolla morphology. Conclusions Our results highlight a need for considering alternatives to the flower-centric perspective when studying the origin of variation in flower morphology, as this can be generated by developmental processes that are also shared with leaves. Graphical
      PubDate: 2022-01-03
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00186-x
  • Case not closed: the mystery of the origin of the carpel

    • Abstract: Abstract The carpel is a fascinating structure that plays a critical role in flowering plant reproduction and contributed greatly to the evolutionary success and diversification of flowering plants. The remarkable feature of the carpel is that it is a closed structure that envelopes the ovules and after fertilization develops into the fruit which protects, helps disperse, and supports seed development into a new plant. Nearly all plant-based foods are either derived from a flowering plant or are a direct product of the carpel. Given its importance it’s no surprise that plant and evolutionary biologists have been trying to explain the origin of the carpel for a long time. Before carpel evolution seeds were produced on open leaf-like structures that are exposed to the environment. When the carpel evolved in the stem lineage of flowering plants, seeds became protected within its closed structure. The evolutionary transition from that open precursor to the closed carpel remains one of the greatest mysteries of plant evolution. In recent years, we have begun to complete a picture of what the first carpels might have looked like. On the other hand, there are still many gaps in our understanding of what the precursor of the carpel looked like and what changes to its developmental mechanisms allowed for this evolutionary transition. This review aims to present an overview of existing theories of carpel evolution with a particular emphasis on those that account for the structures that preceded the carpel and/or present testable developmental hypotheses. In the second part insights from the development and evolution of diverse plant organs are gathered to build a developmental hypothesis for the evolutionary transition from a hypothesized laminar open structure to the closed structure of the carpel.
      PubDate: 2021-12-15
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00184-z
  • Whole body regeneration and developmental competition in two botryllid

    • Abstract: Background Botryllid ascidians are a group of marine invertebrate chordates that are colonial and grow by repeated rounds of asexual reproduction to form a colony of individual bodies, called zooids, linked by a common vascular network. Two distinct processes are responsible for zooid regeneration. In the first, called blastogenesis, new zooids arise from a region of multipotent epithelium from a pre-existing zooid. In the second, called whole body regeneration (WBR), mobile cells in the vasculature coalesce and are the source of the new zooid. In some botryllid species, blastogenesis and WBR occur concurrently, while in others, blastogenesis is used exclusively for growth, while WBR only occurs following injury or exiting periods of dormancy. In species such as Botrylloides diegensis, injury induced WBR is triggered by the surgical isolation of a small piece of vasculature. However, Botryllus schlosseri has unique requirements that must be met for successful injury induced WBR. Our goal was to understand why there would be different requirements between these two species. Results While WBR in B. diegensis was robust, we found that in B. schlosseri, new zooid growth following injury is unlikely due to circulatory cells, but instead a result of ectopic development of tissues leftover from the blastogenic process. These tissues could be whole, damaged, or partially resorbed developing zooids, and we defined the minimal amount of vascular biomass to support ectopic regeneration. We did find a common theme between the two species: a competitive process exists which results in only a single zooid reaching maturity following injury. We utilized this phenomenon and found that competition is reversible and mediated by circulating factors and/or cells. Conclusions We propose that WBR does not occur in B. schlosseri and that the unique requirements defined in other studies only serve to increase the chances of ectopic development. This is likely a response to injury as we have discovered a vascular-based reversible competitive mechanism which ensures that only a single zooid completes development. This competition has been described in other species, but the unique response of B. schlosseri to injury provides a new model to study resource allocation and competition within an individual.
      PubDate: 2021-12-15
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00185-y
  • Correction to: Breaking evolutionary and pleiotropic constraints in
           mammals: on sloths, manatees and homeotic mutations

    • PubDate: 2021-11-22
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00183-0
  • A chelicerate Wnt gene expression atlas: novel insights into the
           complexity of arthropod Wnt-patterning

    • Abstract: Abstract The Wnt genes represent a large family of secreted glycoprotein ligands that date back to early animal evolution. Multiple duplication events generated a set of 13 Wnt families of which 12 are preserved in protostomes. Embryonic Wnt expression patterns (Wnt-patterning) are complex, representing the plentitude of functions these genes play during development. Here, we comprehensively investigated the embryonic expression patterns of Wnt genes from three species of spiders covering both main groups of true spiders, Haplogynae and Entelegynae, a mygalomorph species (tarantula), as well as a distantly related chelicerate outgroup species, the harvestman Phalangium opilio. All spiders possess the same ten classes of Wnt genes, but retained partially different sets of duplicated Wnt genes after whole genome duplication, some of which representing impressive examples of sub- and neo-functionalization. The harvestman, however, possesses a more complete set of 11 Wnt genes but with no duplicates. Our comprehensive data-analysis suggests a high degree of complexity and evolutionary flexibility of Wnt-patterning likely providing a firm network of mutational protection. We discuss the new data on Wnt gene expression in terms of their potential function in segmentation, posterior elongation, and appendage development and critically review previous research on these topics. We conclude that earlier research may have suffered from the absence of comprehensive gene expression data leading to partial misconceptions about the roles of Wnt genes in development and evolution.
      PubDate: 2021-11-09
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00182-1
  • Duplication of spiralian-specific TALE genes and evolution of the
           blastomere specification mechanism in the bivalve lineage

    • Abstract: Background Despite the conserved pattern of the cell-fate map among spiralians, bivalves display several modified characteristics during their early development, including early specification of the D blastomere by the cytoplasmic content, as well as the distinctive fate of the 2d blastomere. However, it is unclear what changes in gene regulatory mechanisms led to such changes in cell specification patterns. Spiralian-TALE (SPILE) genes are a group of spiralian-specific transcription factors that play a role in specifying blastomere cell fates during early development in limpets. We hypothesised that the expansion of SPILE gene repertoires influenced the evolution of the specification pattern of blastomere cell fates. Results We performed a transcriptome analysis of early development in the purplish bifurcate mussel and identified 13 SPILE genes. Phylogenetic analysis of the SPILE gene in molluscs suggested that duplications of SPILE genes occurred in the bivalve lineage. We examined the expression patterns of the SPILE gene in mussels and found that some SPILE genes were expressed in quartet-specific patterns, as observed in limpets. Furthermore, we found that several SPILE genes that had undergone gene duplication were specifically expressed in the D quadrant, C and D quadrants or the 2d blastomere. These expression patterns were distinct from the expression patterns of SPILE in their limpet counterparts. Conclusions These results suggest that, in addition to their ancestral role in quartet specification, certain SPILE genes in mussels contribute to the specification of the C and D quadrants. We suggest that the expansion of SPILE genes in the bivalve lineage contributed to the evolution of a unique cell fate specification pattern in bivalves.
      PubDate: 2021-10-18
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00181-2
  • The Nereid on the rise: Platynereis as a model system

    • Abstract: Abstract The Nereid Platynereis dumerilii (Audouin and Milne Edwards (Annales des Sciences Naturelles 1:195–269, 1833) is a marine annelid that belongs to the Nereididae, a family of errant polychaete worms. The Nereid shows a pelago-benthic life cycle: as a general characteristic for the superphylum of Lophotrochozoa/Spiralia, it has spirally cleaving embryos developing into swimming trochophore larvae. The larvae then metamorphose into benthic worms living in self-spun tubes on macroalgae. Platynereis is used as a model for genetics, regeneration, reproduction biology, development, evolution, chronobiology, neurobiology, ecology, ecotoxicology, and most recently also for connectomics and single-cell genomics. Research on the Nereid started with studies on eye development and spiralian embryogenesis in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Transitioning into the molecular era, Platynereis research focused on posterior growth and regeneration, neuroendocrinology, circadian and lunar cycles, fertilization, and oocyte maturation. Other work covered segmentation, photoreceptors and other sensory cells, nephridia, and population dynamics. Most recently, the unique advantages of the Nereid young worm for whole-body volume electron microscopy and single-cell sequencing became apparent, enabling the tracing of all neurons in its rope-ladder-like central nervous system, and the construction of multimodal cellular atlases. Here, we provide an overview of current topics and methodologies for P. dumerilii, with the aim of stimulating further interest into our unique model and expanding the active and vibrant Platynereis community.
      PubDate: 2021-09-27
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00180-3
  • Cell-specific expression and individual function of prohormone convertase
           PC1/3 in Tribolium larval growth highlights major evolutionary changes
           between beetle and fly neuroendocrine systems

    • Abstract: Background The insect neuroendocrine system acts in the regulation of physiology, development and growth. Molecular evolution of this system hence has the potential to allow for major biological differences between insect groups. Two prohormone convertases, PC1/3 and PC2, are found in animals and both function in the processing of neuropeptide precursors in the vertebrate neurosecretory pathway. Whereas PC2-function is conserved between the fly Drosophila and vertebrates, ancestral PC1/3 was lost in the fly lineage and has not been functionally studied in any protostome. Results In order to understand its original functions and the changes accompanying the gene loss in the fly, we investigated PC1/3 and PC2 expression and function in the beetle Tribolium castaneum. We found that PC2 is broadly expressed in the nervous system, whereas surprisingly, PC1/3 expression is restricted to specific cell groups in the posterior brain and suboesophageal ganglion. Both proteases have parallel but non-redundant functions in adult beetles’ viability and fertility. Female infertility following RNAi is caused by a failure to deposit sufficient yolk to the developing oocytes. Larval RNAi against PC2 produced moulting defects where the larvae were not able to shed their old cuticle. This ecdysis phenotype was also observed in a small subset of PC1/3 knockdown larvae and was strongest in a double knockdown. Unexpectedly, most PC1/3-RNAi larvae showed strongly reduced growth, but went through larval moults despite minimal to zero weight gain. Conclusions The cell type-specific expression of PC1/3 and its essential requirement for larval growth highlight the important role of this gene within the insect neuroendocrine system. Genomic conservation in most insect groups suggests that it has a comparable individual function in other insects as well, which has been replaced by alternative mechanisms in flies.
      PubDate: 2021-06-29
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00179-w
  • Variation on a theme: pigmentation variants and mutants of anemonefish

    • Abstract: Abstract Pigmentation patterning systems are of great interest to understand how changes in developmental mechanisms can lead to a wide variety of patterns. These patterns are often conspicuous, but their origins remain elusive for many marine fish species. Dismantling a biological system allows a better understanding of the required components and the deciphering of how such complex systems are established and function. Valuable information can be obtained from detailed analyses and comparisons of pigmentation patterns of mutants and/or variants from normal patterns. Anemonefishes have been popular marine fish in aquaculture for many years, which has led to the isolation of several mutant lines, and in particular color alterations, that have become very popular in the pet trade. Additionally, scattered information about naturally occurring aberrant anemonefish is available on various websites and image platforms. In this review, the available information on anemonefish color pattern alterations has been gathered and compiled in order to characterize and compare different mutations. With the global picture of anemonefish mutants and variants emerging from this, such as presence or absence of certain phenotypes, information on the patterning system itself can be gained.
      PubDate: 2021-06-19
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00178-x
  • Panarthropod tiptop/teashirt and spalt orthologs and their potential role
           as “trunk”-selector genes

    • Abstract: Background In the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster, the homeodomain containing transcription factor Teashirt (Tsh) appears to specify trunk identity in concert with the function of the Hox genes. While in Drosophila there is a second gene closely related to tsh, called tiptop (tio), in other arthropods species only one copy exists (called tio/tsh). The expression of tsh and tio/tsh, respectively, is surprisingly similar among arthropods suggesting that its function as trunk selector gene may be conserved. Other research, for example on the beetle Tribolium castaneum, questions even conservation of Tsh function among insects. The zinc-finger transcription factor Spalt (Sal) is involved in the regulation of Drosophila tsh, but this regulatory interaction does not appear to be conserved in Tribolium either. Whether the function and interaction of tsh and sal as potential trunk-specifiers, however, is conserved is still unclear because comparative studies on sal expression (except for Tribolium) are lacking, and functional data are (if at all existing) restricted to Insecta. Results Here, we provide additional data on arthropod tsh expression, show the first data on onychophoran tio/tsh expression, and provide a comprehensive investigation on sal expression patterns in arthropods and an onychophoran. Conclusions Our data support the idea that tio/tsh genes are involved in the development of “trunk” segments by regulating limb development. Our data suggest further that the function of Sal is indeed unlikely to be conserved in trunk vs head development like in Drosophila, but early expression of sal is in line with a potential homeotic function, at least in Arthropoda.
      PubDate: 2021-06-02
      DOI: 10.1186/s13227-021-00177-y
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762

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