Embryonic development and the understanding of the adult body plan in myriapods
The adult body plan is laid down during embryonic and post-embryonic development of an organism. Here we review two examples for how data on gene expression during embryonic development have changed our understanding of the adult body plan of myriapods. Gene expression studies in the geophilomorph centipede Strigamia maritima (Leach, 1817) have demonstrated that a developmental constraint underlies the always-odd number of leg bearing segments in geophilomorph centipedes. Similarly, data on gene expression in the millipede Glomeris marginata (Villers, 1789) have demonstrated a decoupling of dorsal and ventral segmentation, which provided an explanation for the discrepancy in dorsal and ventral structures in the body of millipedes. Knowledge on the molecular mechanisms underlying embryonic development therefore significantly contributes to understanding morphological features of the adult myriapod body.
centipedes, millipedes, segmentation, embryology, Glomeris marginata, Strigamia maritima