The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 58: 429 - 443 (2014)

Vol 58, Issue 6-7-8

Special Issue: Spiralian Model Systems

Developmental biology of the leech Helobdella

Published: 15 January 2015

David A. Weisblat*,1 and Dian-Han Kuo2

1Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, USA and 2Dept. of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taiwan.


Glossiphoniid leeches of the genus Helobdella provide experimentally tractable models for studies in evolutionary developmental biology (Evo-Devo). Here, after a brief rationale, we will summarize our current understanding of Helobdella development and highlight the near term prospects for future investigations, with respect to the issues of: D quadrant specification; the transition from spiral to bilaterally symmetric cleavage; segmentation, and the connections between segmental and non-segmental tissues; modifications of BMP signaling in dorsoventral patterning and the O-P equivalence group; germ line specification and genome rearrangements. The goal of this contribution is to serve as a summary of, and guide to, published work.


embryonic patterning, Helobdella, leech, Lophotrochozoa, spiralian

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