Article: article from journal or magazin.
Molecular signaling in zebrafish development and the vertebrate phylotypic period
Evolution and Development
During development vertebrate embryos pass through a stage where their morphology is most conserved between species, the phylotypic period (approximately the pharyngula). To explain the resistance to evolutionary changes of this period, one hypothesis suggests that it is characterized by a high level of interactions. Based on this hypothesis, we examined protein-protein interactions, signal transduction cascades and miRNAs over the course of zebrafish development, and the conservation of expression of these genes in mouse development. We also investigated the characteristics of genes highly expressed before or during the presumed phylotypic period. We show that while there is a high diversity of interactions during the phylotypic period (protein-DNA, RNA-RNA, cell-cell, and between tissues), which is well conserved with mouse, there is no clear difference with later, more morphologically divergent, stages. We propose that the phylotypic period may rather be the expression at the morphological level of strong conservation of molecular processes earlier in development.
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