Biodiversity Science ›› 2014, Vol. 22 ›› Issue (1): 72-79.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2014.13247

Special Issue: From Genome to Diversity

• Orginal Article • Previous Article     Next Article

Effects of regulatory evolution on morphological diversity

Chunce Guo*(), Rui Zhang, Hongyan Shan, Hongzhi Kong   

  1. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093
  • Received:2013-11-29 Accepted:2014-01-15 Online:2014-02-10
  • Guo Chunce

An important task in evolutionary biology is to understand the reason for and mechanisms of morphological diversification. Studies in evolutionary developmental biology have revealed that, rather than being invented repeatedly from scratch, many complex morphological structures have evolved by modification of ancient regulatory networks. In other words, morphological diversity is not always produced by changes in the protein-coding region of regulatory genes; rather, it largely depends on the evolution of gene regulation. As the main components of the regulatory regions of a gene, cis regulatory elements bind to specific trans factors and determine the precise expression of the gene in time, place and amount. As a result, gain, loss, change or modification of cis regulatory elements may lead to shifts in gene expression, which, in turn, generate morphological diversity. Here, by reviewing recent progress in this and related fields, we summarize the basic features of gene regulation in eukaryotes, elucidating its fundamental evolutionary pattern and revealing its importance in generating morphological diversity.

Key words: regulatory element, pleiotropic gene, genetic switches, parallel evolution, evo-devo

Table 1

Examples of morphological changes caused by cis-regulatory mutations"

Function of product
dll (distal-less) 转录因子
Transcription factor
Eyespot determination
Buckeye butterfly
Carroll et al., 1994
e (ebony) 色素合成
Pigment synthesis
Color pattern of abdomen
Wittkopp et al., 2002a
EDA (ectodysplasin) 分泌型信号蛋白
Secreted signaling protein
Number of lateral plates
Colosimo et al., 2005; Jones et al., 2012
Duffy 细胞表面受体
Cell surface receptor
Shape of red blood cell

Tournamille et al., 1995
Optix 转录因子
Transcription factor
Pattern of wing coloration
Dasmahapatra et al., 2012
pitx1 (paired-like homeodomain transcription factor 1) 转录因子
Transcription factor
Skeletal patterning
Peichel et al., 2001; Cresko et al., 2004; Shapiro et al., 2004
sc (scute) 转录因子
Transcription factor
Bristle pattern on adult notum
Marcellini & Simpson, 2006
MPF2 转录因子
Transcription factor
Shape of floral organ
Physalis pubescens
He & Saedler, 2005
svb (shavenbaby) 转录因子
Transcription factor
Bristle pattern on larvae
Sucena et al., 2003; Frankel et al., 2012
tb1 (teosinte branched 1) 转录因子
Transcription factor
Branching structure
Clark et al., 2006
ubx (ultrabithorax) 转录因子
Transcription factor
Bristle pattern on adult legs
Stern, 1998
wnt1 (wingless) 分泌型信号蛋白
Secreted signaling protein
Pfeiffer et al., 2000
y (yellow) 色素合成
Pigment synthesis
Color pattern of cuticle
Gompel et al., 2005; Jeong et al., 2006; Prud’homme et al., 2006
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