The Development of Crustacean Limbs and the Evolution of Arthropods

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Science  24 Nov 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5240, pp. 1363-1366
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5240.1363


Arthropods exhibit great diversity in the position, number, morphology, and function of their limbs. The evolutionary relations among limb types and among the arthropod groups that bear them (insects, crustaceans, myriapods, and chelicerates) are controversial. Here, the use of molecular probes, including an antibody to proteins encoded by arthropod and vertebrate Distal-less (Dll and Dlx) genes, provided evidence that common genetic mechanisms underlie the development of all arthropod limbs and their branches and that all arthropods derive from a common ancestor. However, differences between crustacean and insect body plans were found to correlate with differences in the deployment of particular homeotic genes and in the ways that these genes regulate limb development.

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