How the Snake Lost its Legs: Curious Tales from the Frontier of Evo-Devo

How the Snake Lost its Legs: Curious Tales from the Frontier of Evo-Devo

Lewis I. Held Jr.

Language: English

Pages: 306

ISBN: 1107621399

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


How did the zebra really get its stripes, and the giraffe its
long neck? What is the science behind camel humps, leopard spots
and other animal oddities? Such questions have fascinated us for
centuries, but the expanding field of evo-devo (evolutionary
developmental biology) is now providing, for the first time, a
wealth of insights and answers. Taking inspiration from Kipling's
'Just So Stories', this book weaves emerging insights from
evo-devo into a narrative that provides startling explanations
for the origin and evolution of traits across the animal kingdom
Held's unique and engaging style makes this narrative both
enlightening and entertaining, guiding students and researchers
through even complex concepts and encouraging a fuller
understanding of the latest developments in the field. The first
five chapters cover the first bilaterally symmetric animals
flies, butterflies, snakes, and cheetahs. A final chapter surveys
recent results about a menagerie of other animals

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role, but they offered no explanation for (1) how the mutations targeted Dll to sites near the wing margin, nor (2) why eyespots are not bumps [613,821,1715], given that Dll causes appendage outgrowth in insects [417,1145,1714]. Other genes are expressed in rings around the Dll bull’s eye in leg discs [1178,1534], but none of these “leg genes” (e.g., dachshund) has yet been found to be transcribed in eyespots [1535]. The “Symmetry Model” (Fig. 3.3c, d) was formulated in 2001 by Fred Nijhout

vertebrates to have “gamed the system” to generate huge numbers of vertebrae. Marine reptiles did also [1549]. Figuring out the tricks they used to do so might help us unravel developmental constraints in general. Ironically, the biggest snakes that have ever lived (ß13 m long; ß1000 kg) became giants without fiddling any further with timing rates [949]: their numbers of vertebrae are within the range of smaller snakes in their clades. The vertebrae themselves are simply enlarged [950,1140]. The

impossible to detect them in their natural environment. The genetic basis for those pigmentation patterns (and others) will be examined in the next chapter. Trim: 247mm × 174mm Top: 12.653mm Gutter: 16.871mm CUUK2470-04 CUUK2470/Held ISBN: 978 1 107 03044 2 September 12, 2013 7:46 Trim: 247mm × 174mm Top: 12.653mm Gutter: 16.871mm CUUK2470-05 CUUK2470/Held ISBN: 978 1 107 03044 2 5 September 11, 2013 14:22 The cheetah Why animals decorate their skin Many animals sport garish designs.

We still need to figure out (1) how the cell death pathway gets triggered in workers and (2) how other castes (queens and males) manage to avoid this doom. How the ape lost its tail In the science-fiction movie Avatar, the humanoid aliens have long tails like monkeys. If our own monkey ancestors had not lost their tails when they became apes, then we might still have a tail like the Na’vi on Pandora [2150]. Our forebears lost their tails when they came down from the trees [1244,2245] and

and comparative ontogenetics. Dev. Biol. 286, 57–77. Trim: 247mm × 174mm Top: 12.653mm Gutter: 16.871mm CUUK2470-REF CUUK2470/Held ISBN: 978 1 107 03044 2 160 September 11, 2013 13:53 References 59. Angelini, D.R., Liu, P.Z., Hughes, C.L., and Kaufman, T.C. (2005). Hox gene function and interaction in the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus (Hemiptera). Dev. Biol. 287, 440–455. 60. Aoyama, H. and Asamoto, K. (2000). The developmental fate of the rostral/caudal half of a somite for vertebra

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