The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 65: 345 - 356 (2021)

Vol 65, Issue 4-5-6

Special Issue: Developmental Biology in Ibero-America - Part 2

Oxygen, reactive oxygen species and developmental redox networks: Evo-Devo Evil-Devils?

Published: 26 August 2020

Enrique Salas-Vidal*, Francisco J. Mendez-Cruz, Arlen Ramírez-Corona and Brenda Reza-Medina

Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México


Molecular oxygen (O2), reactive oxygen species (ROS), and associated redox networks are cornerstones of aerobic life. These molecules and networks have gained recognition as fundamental players in mechanisms that regulate the development of multicellular organisms. First, we present a brief review in which we provide a historical description of some relevant discoveries that led to this recognition. We also discuss the fact that, despite its abundance in nature, oxygen is a limiting factor, and its high availability variation impacted the evolution of adaptive mechanisms to guarantee the proper development of diverse species under such extreme environments. Finally, some examples of when oxygen and ROS were identified as relevant for the control of developmental processes are discussed. We take into account not only the current knowledge on animal redox developmental biology, but also briefly discuss potential scenarios on the origin and evolution of redox developmental mechanisms and the importance of the ever-changing environment.


oxygen, reactive oxygen species, metazoan, development, Eco-Evo-Devo, NADPH oxidase

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