Chapter

Conserved developmental processes and the evolution of novel traits: wounds, embryos, veins, and butterfly eyespots

Patrícia Beldade and Suzanne V. Saenko

in Animal Evolution

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199549429
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191721601 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549429.003.0017
 Conserved developmental processes and the evolution of novel traits: wounds, embryos, veins, and butterfly eyespots

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The origin and diversification of morphological novelties is a key issue in evolutionary developmental biology. Possibilities for comparative analysis of the genetic and developmental bases of such lineage-specific traits, however, can be limited when they have no obvious homolog in model organisms. The finding that the evolution of morphological innovations often involves the recruitment of pre-existing genes and/or gene networks offers the potential to overcome this challenge. Knowledge about shared developmental processes from studies in model organisms can then be used to understand the origin and diversification of traits represented only in other lineages. This chapter illustrates this approach in relation to butterfly eyespots using examples from the tractable laboratory system Bicyclus anynana. This chapter discusses experimental data exploring genetic commonalities between eyespot patterning and three different conserved developmental processes; wound healing, embryonic development, and wing vein formation. Analyzing such well-described processes in the context of eyespot development holds great promise for furthering our understanding of those lepidopteran-specific and highly diverse morphological traits.

Keywords: evolutionary novelties; butterfly eyespots; embryonic development; wing venation; Bicyclus anynana mutants

Chapter.  4060 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

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