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Temporal flexibility of gene regulatory network underlies a novel wing pattern in flies

Citation

Finet, Cédric (2020), Temporal flexibility of gene regulatory network underlies a novel wing pattern in flies, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.prr4xgxhs

Abstract

Organisms have evolved endless morphological, physiological, and behavioral novel traits during the course of evolution. Novel traits were proposed to evolve mainly by orchestration of preexisting genes. Over the past two decades, biologists have shown that co-option of gene regulatory networks (GRNs) indeed underlies numerous evolutionary novelties. However, very little is known about the actual GRN properties that allow such redeployment. Here we have investigated the generation and evolution of the complex wing pattern of the fly Samoaia leonensis. We show that the transcription factor Engrailed is recruited independently from the other players of the anterior-posterior specification network to generate a new wing pattern. We argue that partial co-option is made possible because (i) the anterior-posterior specification GRN is flexible over time in the developing wing and (ii) this flexibility results from the fact every single gene of the GRN possesses its own functional time window. We propose that the temporal flexibility of a GRN is a general prerequisite for its possible co-option during the course of evolution.  

Funding

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Award: N/A