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Conservation of Molecular Prepatterns during the Evolution of Cuticle Morphology in Drosophila Larvae

W. J. Dickinson, Yifan Yang, Kim Schuske and Michael Akam
Evolution
Vol. 47, No. 5 (Oct., 1993), pp. 1396-1406
DOI: 10.2307/2410155
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410155
Page Count: 11
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Conservation of Molecular Prepatterns during the Evolution of Cuticle Morphology in Drosophila Larvae
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Abstract

We are using patterns of cuticle specialization in Drosophila larvae as models to investigate the molecular, genetic, and developmental bases of morphological evolution. Members of the virilis species group differ markedly from one another in the distribution of hairs on the dorsal surface of first instar larvae. In particular, characteristic bands of hairs cover about 20% of each trunk segment in some species but about 70% in others. These major types do not correlate with recently proposed phylogenetic relationships, suggesting that similar phenotypes have arisen independently in different lineages. The patterns of expression of several genes that control or reflect intrasegmental patterning are indistinguishable in species with very different cuticle morphologies. We conclude that, in this case, morphology probably has evolved via altered response to a conserved molecular prepattern.

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