Furcation, field-splitting, and the evolutionary origins of novelty in arthropod photoreceptors.

Academic Article


  • Arthropod photoreceptor evolution is a prime example of how evolution has used existing components in the origin of new structures. Here, we outline a comparative approach to understanding the mutational origins of novel structures, describing multiple examples from arthropod photoreceptor evolution. We suggest that developmental mechanisms have often split photoreceptors during evolution (field-splitting) and we introduce "co-duplication" as a null model for the mutational origins of photoreceptor components. Under co-duplication, gene duplication events coincide with the origin of a higher level structure like an eye. If co-duplication is rejected for a component, that component probably came to be used in a new photoreceptor through regulatory mutations. If not rejected, a gene duplication mutation may have allowed the component to be used in a new structure. In multiple case studies in arthropod photoreceptor evolution, we consistently reject the null hypothesis of co-duplication of genetic components and photoreceptors. Nevertheless, gene duplication events have in some cases occurred later, allowing divergence of photoreceptors. These studies provide a new perspective on the evolution of arthropod photoreceptors and provide a comparative approach that generalizes to the study of any evolutionary novelty.
  • Authors

  • Oakley, Todd H
  • Plachetzki, David
  • Rivera, Ajna S
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 2007
  • Keywords

  • Animals
  • Arthropods
  • Biological Evolution
  • Gene Duplication
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Larva
  • Models, Biological
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate
  • Visual Fields
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 18089117
  • Start Page

  • 386
  • End Page

  • 400
  • Volume

  • 36
  • Issue

  • 4