The Dance of Development

Science's STKE  30 May 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 337, pp. tw182
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3372006tw182

The path from an egg into an adult organism requires a complex dance of thousands of genes. Imai et al. (see the Perspective by Lemaire) tracked the expression of regulatory genes on a cell-by-cell basis in the developing embryo of the sea squirt, Ciona intestinalis. The authors generated a map of the network of gene interactions from which they could extract information about specific developmental pathways, such as the formation of notochord, or brain. The results give a snapshot of development at an interesting point of evolution, from an organism that stands between invertebrates and vertebrates.

K. S. Imai, M. Levine, N. Satoh, Y. Satou, Regulatory blueprint for a chordate embryo. Science 312, 1183-1187 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]

P. Lemaire, How many ways to make a chordate? Science 312, 1145-1146 (2006). [Summary] [Full Text]