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Evolutionary relevance of retinoic acid-induced craniofacial malformations

erate the various structures of the face through the activation of Dlx patterning genes.

The most intriguing observation of this study is that the morphological characters obtained when treating embryos at slightly different developmental times resemble closely anatomical features found in other species. For example the authors describe the progressive transformation of ossicles of the middle ear into components of the jaw apparatus. Furthermore, the treated skulls display combinations of characters present in non-mammalian species arranged in a temporal sequence strongly reminiscent of the evolutionary sequence of gnathostomal jaws. They conclude with the hypothesis that modulation of a common regulatory signalling mechanism could be at the origin of changes in jaw structures between species.

The implications of these findings go much beyond the original scope of this study and will have a major impact on developmental biology and evolutionary biology as they pave a way to understand the complexity of the dynamic patterning events at the origin of face development and evolution.


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Contact: Giovanni Levi
glevi@mnhn.fr
33-140-793-621
Public Library of Science
5-Jun-2007


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