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Developmental mechanisms of limb reduction in Squamata

Grant number: 12/01319-8
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2012
Effective date (End): October 31, 2015
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology
Principal Investigator:Miguel Trefaut Urbano Rodrigues
Grantee:Juliana Gusson Roscito
Home Institution: Instituto de Biociências (IB). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:11/50146-6 - Comparative phylogeography, phylogeny, paleoclimate modeling, and taxonomy of neotropical reptiles and amphibians, AP.BTA.TEM
Associated scholarship(s):12/23360-0 - Role of gene regulation in the evolution of morphology, BE.EP.PD

Abstract

cis-Regulatory elements control tissue-specifc spatial and temporal patterns of gene expression, and changes in gene expression, most likely due to modifcations in the cis-regulatory modules, are believed to be one of the major developmental mechanisms driving evolutionary changes throughout Metazoa. The impressive diversity of limb morphologies across vertebrates is intriguing since the patterning mechanisms involved in limb development seem to be relatively conserved among the vertebrate taxa in which they have been studied. In Squamata (lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians), the evolution of a snake-like form, with reduced limbs and elongated body, is a frequent trend that has originated convergently and independently in diverse lineages (the most obvious of those being the lineage from which snakes have originated), and several degrees of limb-reduced morphologies are observed among closely-related species. Understanding the evolution of a snake-like morphology has driven many phylogeny-based studies, however, the developmental mechanisms involved in such body plans modifcations have not yet been investigated. This work proposes to investigate comparatively the evolution of the developmental mechanisms associated with limb reduction in a phylogenetic group of lizards, with snakes, amphisbaenians, and other basal squamate lizards as outgroups, by looking at the cis-regulatory region of limb-patterning genes, namely Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) and the distal Hoxd genes (Hoxd10-13), both involved in patterning the anterior-posterior limb axis; the analysis will also involve functional assays in chick embryos to test for the regulatory potential of squamate regulatory regions. The results are expected to provide interesting insights on the evolutionary flexibility of the selective pressures that acted upon the developmental mechanisms that build reduced limb morphologies in squamates.

Articles published in Agência FAPESP about the scholarship:
Research explains how snakes lost their limbs 
Articles published in other Midia: (1 total)

Scientific publications (4)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
ROSCITO, JULIANA G.; SAMEITH, KATRIN; PARRA, GENIS; LANGER, BJOERN E.; PETZOLD, ANDREAS; MOEBIUS, CLAUDIA; BICKLE, MARC; RODRIGUES, MIGUEL TREFAUT; HILLER, MICHAEL. Phenotype loss is associated with widespread divergence of the gene regulatory landscape in evolution. NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, v. 9, NOV 9 2018. Web of Science Citations: 1.
SAMEITH, KATRIN; ROSCITO, JULIANA G.; HILLER, MICHAEL. Iterative error correction of long sequencing reads maximizes accuracy and improves contig assembly. BRIEFINGS IN BIOINFORMATICS, v. 18, n. 1, p. 1-8, JAN 2017. Web of Science Citations: 8.
PRUDENT, XAVIER; PARRA, GENIS; SCHWEDE, PETER; ROSCITO, JULIANA G.; HILLER, MICHAEL. Controlling for Phylogenetic Relatedness and Evolutionary Rates Improves the Discovery of Associations Between Species' Phenotypic and Genomic Differences. Molecular Biology and Evolution, v. 33, n. 8, p. 2135-2150, AUG 2016. Web of Science Citations: 11.
SALES NUNES, PEDRO M.; CURCIO, FELIPE F.; ROSCITO, JULIANA G.; RODRIGUES, MIGUEL T. Are Hemipenial Spines Related to Limb Reduction? A Spiny Discussion Focused on Gymnophthalmid Lizards (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae). Anatomical Record-Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology, v. 297, n. 3, SI, p. 482-495, MAR 2014. Web of Science Citations: 5.

Please report errors in scientific publications list by writing to: cdi@fapesp.br.