Variation in Salamanders: An Essay on Genomes, Development, and Evolution.
Salamanders in Regeneration Research
Methods in molecular biology, January 2015
Jeremy P Brockes, Jeremy P. Brockes
Regeneration is studied in a few model species of salamanders, but the ten families of salamanders show considerable variation, and this has implications for our understanding of salamander biology. The most recent classification of the families identifies the cryptobranchoidea as the basal group which diverged in the early Jurassic. Variation in the sizes of genomes is particularly obvious, and reflects a major contribution from transposable elements which is already present in the basal group.Limb development has been a focus for evodevo studies, in part because of the variable property of pre-axial dominance which distinguishes salamanders from other tetrapods. This is thought to reflect the selective pressures that operate on a free-living aquatic larva, and might also be relevant for the evolution of limb regeneration. Recent fossil evidence suggests that both pre-axial dominance and limb regeneration were present 300 million years ago in larval temnospondyl amphibians that lived in mountain lakes. A satisfying account of regeneration in salamanders may need to address all these different aspects in the future.
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