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Vertebrate segmentation has been proposed as an evolutionary inheritance either from some metameric protostome or from a more closely related deuterostome. To address this question, we studied the developmental expression of AmphiEn, the engrailed gene of amphioxus, the closest living invertebrate relative of the vertebrates. In neurula embryos of(More)
The dynamic expression patterns of the single amphioxus Distal-less homolog (AmphiDll) during development are consistent with successive roles of this gene in global regionalization of the ectoderm, establishment of the dorsoventral axis, specification of migratory epidermal cells early in neurulation and the specification of forebrain. Such a multiplicity(More)
The organizer of the vertebrate gastrula is an important signalling centre that induces and patterns dorsal axial structures. Although a topic of long-standing interest, the evolutionary origin of the organizer remains unclear. Here we show that the gastrula of the cephalochordate amphioxus expresses dorsal/ventral (D/V) patterning genes (for example, bone(More)
Amphioxus, the closest living invertebrate relative of the vertebrates, has a notochord, segmental axial musculature, pharyngeal gill slits and dorsal hollow nerve cord, but lacks neural crest. In amphioxus, as in vertebrates, exogenous retinoic acid (RA) posteriorizes the embryo. The mouth and gill slits never form, AmphiPax1, which is normally(More)
The full-length sequence and developmental expression of an amphioxus Wnt gene (AmphiWnt8) are described. In amphioxus embryos, the expression patterns of AmphiWnt8 suggest patterning roles in the forebrain, in the hindgut, and in the paraxial mesoderm that gives rise to the muscular somites. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that a single Wnt8 subfamily gene(More)
To explore the evolution of myogenic regulatory factors in chordates, we isolated two MyoD family genes (AmphiMRF1 and AmphiMRF2) from amphioxus. AmphiMRF1 is first expressed at the late gastrula in the paraxial mesoderm. As the first somites form, expression is restricted to their myotomal region. In the early larva, expression is strongest in the most(More)
Recent studies of protochordates (ascidian tunicates and amphioxus) have given insights into possible ancestors of 2 of the characteristic features of the vertebrate head: neural crest and placodes. The neural crest probably evolved from cells on either side of the neural plate-epidermis boundary in a protochordate ancestral to the vertebrates. In(More)
About 500 million years ago, a new type of adaptive immune defense emerged in basal jawed vertebrates, accompanied by morphological innovations, including the thymus. Did these evolutionary novelties arise de novo or from elaboration of ancient genetic networks? We reconstructed the genetic changes underlying thymopoiesis by comparative genome and(More)
During amphioxus development, the neural plate is bordered by cells expressing many genes with homologs involved in vertebrate neural crest induction. However, these amphioxus cells evidently lack additional genetic programs for the cell delaminations, migrations, and differentiations characterizing definitive vertebrate neural crest. We characterize an(More)