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The first chordates appear in the fossil record at the time of the Cambrian explosion, nearly 550 million years ago. The modern ascidian tadpole represents a plausible approximation to these ancestral chordates. To illuminate the origins of chordate and vertebrates, we generated a draft of the protein-coding portion of the genome of the most studied(More)
The central and peripheral nervous systems (CNS and PNS) of the ascidian tadpole larva are comparatively simple, consisting of only about 350 cells. However, studies of the expression of neural patterning genes have demonstrated overall similarity between the ascidian CNS and the vertebrate CNS, suggesting that the ascidian CNS is sufficiently complex to be(More)
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