The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 40: 727 - 733 (1996)

Vol 40, Issue 4

Special Issue: Developmental Biology of Urodeles

Pattern formation in the urodele mechanoreceptive lateral line: what features can be exploited for the study of development and evolution?

Published: 1 August 1996

S C Smith

Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


The lateral line is a specialized system of mechano- and electrosensory organs found in anamniotes. This system develops from ectodermal placodes, which migrate extensively along specific routes and deposit sensory organ anlagen at regular intervals, making it ideal for examining several important aspects of pattern formation. Urodele embryos are excellent model organisms for studies of pattern formation in the lateral-line system. The results of such studies are also important for understanding the evolutionary control of changes in pattern. The developmental mechanisms which control pattern formation in the urodele lateral line are reviewed, and some of the broader evolutionary implications of these mechanisms are discussed.

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