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Emergence and diversification of a Drosophila pigmentation pattern through the assembly and evolution of a novel gene regulatory module
Deciphering the genetic mechanisms at the basis of morphological evolution is a major question in Biology. In this study we tackled this problem by looking at pigmentation in Drosophila. We showed that a spot of dark pigment on fly wings emerged from the assembly of a novel gene regulatory module. In a first step, a set of pigmentation genes evolved to respond to a common transcriptional regulator determining their spatial distribution. The primitive wing spot pattern subsequently diversified through changes in the expression pattern of this regulator. These results suggest that the genetic changes underlying the emergence and diversification of wing pigmentation patterns are partitioned within genetic networks. More generally,this two-step model accounts, at the gene regulatory level, for the general pattern observed in animals and plants where morphological diversification mostly results from occasional novelties and infinite variations on these new themes.
Link: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/339/6126/1423
Published in 2013-04-03 14:23:52
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