Heterochronic mutants of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

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Science  26 Oct 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4673, pp. 409-416
DOI: 10.1126/science.6494891


Mutations in the Caenorhabditis elegans genes lin-14, lin-28, and lin-29 cause heterochronic developmental defects: the timing of specific developmental events in several tissues is altered relative to the timing of events in other tissues. These defects result from temporal transformations in the fates of specific cells, that is, certain cells express fates normally expressed by cells generated at other developmental stages. The identification and characterization of genes that can be mutated to cause heterochrony support the proposal that heterochrony is a mechanism for phylogenetic change and suggest cellular and genetic bases for heterochronic variation.

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