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Functional Morphology and Diversity$
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Les Watling and Martin Thiel

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195398038

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195398038.001.0001

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Mechanisms of Limb Patterning in Crustaceans

Mechanisms of Limb Patterning in Crustaceans

(p.74) 3 Mechanisms of Limb Patterning in Crustaceans
Functional Morphology and Diversity

Terri A. Williams

Oxford University Press

The structural diversity of crustacean limbs is enormous, and their evolution is hotly debated. Attempts have been made to understand the developmental patterning mechanisms that generate distinct types of adult limbs by analyzing genes known to regulate limb development in the arthropod model system, Drosophila. This has led to the discovery of deeply conserved features of limb patterning, although it has not clarified how some of the most basic limb structures—a biramous limb or endites or exites—are patterned. Indeed, based on available data, one hypothesis is that endites and exites may have varied independently during evolution. Analyses of patterning during crustacean limb development are further complicated by the fact that their larval stages can have limbs that are quite distinct from those of adults. This means that any particular body segment may develop two or more structurally distinct limbs during the course of the life cycle—a phenomenon yet to be captured by models of limb patterning. Finally, the diversity of limbs is evident not only in their overall plan but also in the details of setae, joints, and muscles that permit their functional specialization. Like many other areas of study in crustacean limb development, the analysis of how these structures develop has barely begun.

Keywords:   appendage development, crustacean appendage, leg development, leg patterning, Drosophila melanogaster, limbs, genetic regulation

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