Dataset Information


Caenorhabditis elegans high resolution developmental transcriptomic time-course

ABSTRACT: Classical embryological studies revealed that during mid-embryogenesis vertebrates show similar morphologies. This “phylotypic stage” has recently received support from transcriptome analyses, which have also detected similar stages in nematodes and arthropods. A conserved stage in these three phyla has led us to ask if all animals pass through a universal definitive stage as a consequence of ancestral constraints on animal development. Previous work has suggested that HOX genes may comprise such a ‘zootypic’ stage, however this hypothetical stage has hitherto resisted systematic analysis. We have examined the embryonic development of ten different animals each of a fundamentally different phylum, including a segmented worm, a flatworm, a roundworm, a water bear, a fruitfly, a sea urchin, a zebrafish, a sea anemone, a sponge, and a comb jelly. For each species, we collected the embryonic transcriptomes at ~100 different developmental stages and analyzed their gene expression profiles. We found dynamic gene expression across all of the species that is structured in a stage like manner. Strikingly, we found that animal embryology contains two dominant modules of zygotic expression in terms of their protein domain composition: one involving proliferation, and a second involving differentiation. The switch between these two modules involves induction of the zootype; which in addition to homeobox containing genes, also involves Wnt and Notch signaling as well as forkhead domain transcription factors. Our results provide a systematic characterization of animal universality and identify the points of embryological constraints and flexibility. 139 single embryo samples.

ORGANISM(S): Caenorhabditis elegans  

SUBMITTER: Leon Anavy   Michal Levin  Itai Yanai 

PROVIDER: E-GEOD-60755 | ArrayExpress | 2016-02-18



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Animals are grouped into ~35 'phyla' based upon the notion of distinct body plans. Morphological and molecular analyses have revealed that a stage in the middle of development--known as the phylotypic period--is conserved among species within some phyla. Although these analyses provide evidence for their existence, phyla have also been criticized as lacking an objective definition, and consequently based on arbitrary groupings of animals. Here we compare the developmental transcriptomes of ten s  ...[more]

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