May 3, 2013

The hourglass and the early conservation models--co-existing patterns of developmental constraints in vertebrates

PLoS Genetics
Barbara PiaseckaMarc Robinson-Rechavi

Abstract

Developmental constraints have been postulated to limit the space of feasible phenotypes and thus shape animal evolution. These constraints have been suggested to be the strongest during either early or mid-embryogenesis, which corresponds to the early conservation model or the hourglass model, respectively. Conflicting results have been reported, but in recent studies of animal transcriptomes the hourglass model has been favored. Studies usually report descriptive statistics calculated for all genes over all developmental time points. This introduces dependencies between the sets of compared genes and may lead to biased results. Here we overcome this problem using an alternative modular analysis. We used the Iterative Signature Algorithm to identify distinct modules of genes co-expressed specifically in consecutive stages of zebrafish development. We then performed a detailed comparison of several gene properties between modules, allowing for a less biased and more powerful analysis. Notably, our analysis corroborated the hourglass pattern at the regulatory level, with sequences of regulatory regions being most conserved for genes expressed in mid-development but not at the level of gene sequence, age, or expression, in contra...Continue Reading

  • References53
  • Citations28

Mentioned in this Paper

Vertebrates
Embryo
Biologic Segmentation
Genome
Transcription Initiation Site
Murine
Genome Assembly Sequence
Cytokinesis of the Fertilized Ovum
Embryonic Development
Bilateria

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