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Animal EvolutionGenomes, Fossils, and Trees$
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Maximilian J. Telford and D.T.J. Littlewood

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199549429

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199549429.001.0001

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The evolution of nervous system centralization

The evolution of nervous system centralization

(p.65) CHAPTER 7 The evolution of nervous system centralization
Animal Evolution

Detlev Arendt

Alexandru S. Denes

Gáspár Jékely

Kristin Tessmar-Raible

Oxford University Press

It is currently unknown when and in what form the central nervous system (CNS) in Bilateria first appeared, and how it further evolved in the different bilaterian phyla. To find out, a series of recent molecular studies has compared neurodevelopment in slow-evolving deuterostome and protostome invertebrates such as the enteropneust hemichordate Saccoglossus and the polychaete annelid Platynereis. These studies focus on the spatially different activation and, when accessible, function of genes that set up the molecular anatomy of the neuroectoderm, and specify neuron types that emerge from distinct molecular coordinates. Complex similarities are detected that reveal aspects of neurodevelopment that most likely already occurred in a similar manner in the last common ancestor of the bilaterians, Urbilateria. Using this approach, different aspects of the molecular architecture of the urbilaterian nervous system are being reconstructed and are yielding insight into the degree of centralization that was in place in the bilaterian ancestors.

Keywords:   evo-devo, bmp signalling, dorsoventral axis inversion, Urbilateria, nervous system centralization

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