3 years ago

Gene, cell, and organ multiplication drives inner ear evolution

We review the development and evolution of the ear neurosensory cells, the aggregation of neurosensory cells into an otic placode, the evolution of novel neurosensory structures dedicated to hearing and the evolution of novel nuclei in the brain and their input dedicated to processing those novel auditory stimuli. The evolution of the apparently novel auditory system lies in duplication and diversification of cell fate transcription regulation that allows variation at the cellular level [transforming a single neurosensory cell into a sensory cell connected to its targets by a sensory neuron as well as diversifying hair cells], organ level [duplication of organ development followed by diversification and novel stimulus acquisition] and brain nuclear level [multiplication of transcription factors to regulate various neuron and neuron aggregate fate to transform the spinal cord into the unique hindbrain organization]. Tying cell fate changes driven by bHLH and other transcription factors into cell and organ changes is at the moment tentative as not all relevant factors are known and their gene regulatory network is only rudimentary understood. Future research can use the blueprint proposed here to provide both the deeper molecular evolutionary understanding as well as a more detailed appreciation of developmental networks. This understanding can reveal how an auditory system evolved through transformation of existing cell fate determining networks and thus how neurosensory evolution occurred through molecular changes affecting cell fate decision processes. Appreciating the evolutionary cascade of developmental program changes could allow identifying essential steps needed to restore cells and organs in the future.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0012160616308284

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