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Molecular Heterochrony in the Early Development of Drosophila

Junhyong Kim, Jonita Q. Kerr and Gi-Sik Min
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 97, No. 1 (Jan. 4, 2000), pp. 212-216
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/121769
Page Count: 5
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Molecular Heterochrony in the Early Development of Drosophila
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Abstract

Heterochrony, the relative change of developmental timing, is one of the major modes of macroevolutionary change; it identifies temporally disassociated units of developmental evolution. Here, we report the results of a fine-scale temporal study for the expression of the developmental gene hairy and morphological development in three species of Drosophila, D. melanogaster, D. simulans, and D. pseudoobscura. The results suggest that between and among closely related species, temporal displacement of ontogenetic trajectory is detected even at the earliest stage of development. Overall, D. simulans shows the earliest expression, followed by D. melanogaster, and then by D. pseudoobscura. Setting D. melanogaster as the standard, we find the approximate time to full expression is accelerated by 13 min, 48 s in D. simulans and retarded by 24 min in D. pseudoobscura. Morphologically, again with D. melanogaster setting the standard, initiation of cellularization is faster in D. simulans by 15 min, 42 s; and initiation of morphogenesis is faster in D. simulans by 18 min, 7 s. These results seem to be consistent with the finding that the approximate time to full expression of hairy is accelerated by 13 min, 48 s in D. simulans. On the other hand, the same morphological events are delayed by 5 min, 32 s, and by 11 min, 32 s, respectively, in D. pseudoobscura. These delays are small, compared with the 24-min delay in full expression. The timing changes, in total, seem consistent with continuous phyletic evolution of temporal trajectories. Finally, we speculate that epigenetic interactions of hairy expression timing and cell-cycle timing may have led to morphological differences in the terminal system of the larvae.

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