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An overview of glossiphoniid leech development

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Dramatic advances in understanding the development of selected "model" organisms, coupled with the realization that genes which regulate development are often conserved between diverse taxa, have renewed interest in comparative development and evolution. Recent molecular phylogenies seem to be converging on a new consensus "tree," according to which higher bilaterians fall into three major groups, Deuterostoma, Ecdysozoa, and Lophotrochozoa. Commonly studied model systems for development fall almost exclusively within the first two of these groups. Glossiphoniid leeches (phylum Annelida) offer certain advantages for descriptive and experimental embryology per se, and can also serve to represent the lophotrochozoan clade. We present an overview of the development of glossiphoniid leeches, highlighting some current research questions and the potential for comparative cellular and molecular studies.

Les progrès spectaculaires de la recherche sur le développement d'organismes « modèles » sélectionnés et la constatation que les gènes régulateurs du développement sont souvent conservés d'un taxon à un autre ont ranimé l'intérêt pour leur développement et leur évolution. Les phylogénies moléculaires récentes semblent converger vers un « arbre » concensus nouveau dans lequel les organismes bilatéraux supérieurs appartiennent à l'un ou l'autre de trois groupes principaux, les Deuterostoma, les Ecdysozoa et les Lophotrochozoa. Les systèmes modèles de développement étudiés couramment appartiennent presque exclusivement aux deux premiers de ces groupes. Les sangsues glossiphoniides (phylum Annelida) sont des sujets bien appropriés en embryologie descriptive ou expérimentale et elles peuvent également représenter le groupe des Lophotrochozoa. On trouvera ici une vision globale du développement des sangsues glossiphoniides, dans laquelle sont soulignées les questions courantes en recherche et leur potentiel dans des études comparatives cellulaires et moléculaires.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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