Genomic Regulatory Systems - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780122053511, 9780080525594

Genomic Regulatory Systems

1st Edition

In Development and Evolution

Authors: Eric Davidson
eBook ISBN: 9780080525594
Imprint: Academic Press
Published Date: 11th January 2001
Page Count: 261
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The interaction between biology and evolution has been the subject of great interest in recent years. Because evolution is such a highly debated topic, a biologically oriented discussion will appeal not only to scientists and biologists but also to the interested lay person. This topic will always be a subject of controversy and therefore any breaking information regarding it is of great interest. The author is a recognized expert in the field of developmental biology and has been instrumental in elucidating the relationship between biology and evolution. The study of evolution is of interest to many different kinds of people and Genomic Regulatory Systems: In Development and Evolution is written at a level that is very easy to read and understand even for the nonscientist.

Key Features

  • Contents Include
  • Regulatory Hardwiring: A Brief Overview of the Genomic Control Apparatus and Its Causal Role in Development and Evolution
  • Inside the Cis-Regulatory Module: Control Logic and How the Regulatory Environment Is Transduced into Spatial Patterns of Gene Expression
  • Regulation of Direct Cell-Type Specification in Early Development
  • The Secret of the Bilaterians: Abstract Regulatory Design in Building Adult Body Parts
  • Changes That Make New Forms: Gene Regulatory Systems and the Evolution of Body Plans


Students and professionals in biology, cell biology, and molecular biology. Also, any person with a general interest in evolution.

Table of Contents


1. Regulatory Hardwiring: A Brief Overview of the Genomic Control Apparatus and its Causal Role in Development and Evolution

The Regulatory Apparatus Encoded in the DNA

The Genes and Gene Regulatory Components of Animal Genomes

Overview of Regulatory Architecture

Gene Regulatory Functions in Development

The Regulatory Demands of Development

Pattern Formation

Terminal Differentiation

Genomic Regulatory Sequence and the Evolution of Morphological Features

Regulatory Evolution, and Evolution in General

Bilaterian Phylogeny

2. Inside the cis-Regulatory Module: Control Logic, and How Regulatory Environment is Transduced into Spatial Patterns of Gene Expression

Operating Principles for cis-Regulatory Systems that Mediate Developmental Specification Events

Spatial Repression in cis-Regulatory specification

Two Very Different Examples of Similar Import

cis-Regulatory Design for Autonomous Modular Function

The Generality of Repression

Downstream of Specification

Some Examples

At the Beginning of Embryogenesis

Polyfunctional Downstream Modules

The "Power" of the cis-Regulatory Module

Diverse cis-Regulatory Outputs from a Simple Input

Direct Integration of Noncoincident Spatial Inputs

A cis-Regulatory Logic Device

3. Regulation of Direct Cell-Type Specification in Early Development

The Basic Package for Bilaterian Embryogenesis: Type 1 Specification Processes

Regulatory Mechanism in Territorial Specification of the Sea Urchin Embryo

The Definitive Territories of the Embryo

Early Transcriptional Activation of Cell Type-specific Genes

Initial Regulatory Processes

Multiple Inputs for Endomesoderm Specification

Regulatory Mechanisms Controlling Specification in Ascidian Embryos

Territorial Specification

Mechanisms and Pathways in Mesoderm Specification

Caenorhabditis elegans: The Genomic Apparatus for Endoderm Specification

Endoderm Specification

The Network of Zygotic cis-Regulatory Interactions Required for Endoderm Specification

Short Summary: Quality of Type 1 Regulatory Networks

4. The Secret of the Bilaterians: Abstract Regulatory Design in Building Adult Body Parts

The Evolutionary Significance of "Pattern Formation"

The First Step: Transcriptional Definition of the Domain of the Body Part

Morphological Pieces and Regulatory Subpatterns

Heart Parts

Forelimb and Hindlimb Buds

Transcriptional Domains in the Gut Endoderm

Patterns in the Developing Hindbrain

Appendage Parts and Transcriptional Patterns in Drosophila Imaginal Discs

Glimpses of How It Works

Transcriptional Domains and the Pattern Program for the Drosophila Wing Disc: Modularity and cis-Regulatory Inputs

Patterning the Heart Progenitor Field in Drosophila

Encoding Hindbrain Regulatory Patterns

The Role of Signaling

The Last Routines: Calling in Differentiation Programs

Specification of Peripheral Nervous System Elements in the Drosophila Wing

Installation of Cell Type-specific Differentiation Programs in the Pituitary

Concluding Remark

5. Changes that Make New Forms: Gene Regulatory Systems and the Evolution of Body Plans

Some Examples: Evolutionary Cooption of Genes to New Pattern Formation Functions

hox Gene Functions and Cooptions of the hox Cluster Patterning System

A Specific Case of A/P Patterning: How a box Gene Does its Job

Evolutionary Changes in box Gene Expression in the Arthropods

Off the A/P Axis

Colinear Expression of box Genes in the Somatocoels of Sea Urchin Larvae

Small Changes

Evolutionary Origins of Body Parts

Polarity in Body Part Evolution

The Case of pax6 and Some Other Amazing Examples

Concluding Comment: Conceiving Evolution as a Process of Change in Regulatory Gene Networks




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© Academic Press 2001
Academic Press
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About the Author

Eric Davidson

Isabelle S. Peter is Assistant Research Professor and Eric H. Davidson is Norman Chandler Professor of Cell Biology in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California. Over the last seven years they have co-authored a series of works on experimental, conceptual and computational analyses of developmental gene regulatory networks, including their evolutionary significance. The discussions and conceptual explorations occasioned by this collaboration produced the new synthetic views encompassed in this book, building on decades of earlier work summarized in the 2001 and 2006 Academic Press books by Eric H. Davidson.

Affiliations and Expertise

Norman Chandler Professor of Cell Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA


"Davidson has written a thoroughly engaging and visually attractive book...does an admirable job in synthesising and explicating a massive and complex literature in an accessible style. ...stands out in contrast to various other books on 'evo-devo' that have recently been published, through the adoption of a narrow focus which allows a great depth of treatment." @source:—Ronald A. Jenner, University of Amsterdam, in THE PALAEONTOLOGICAL ASSOCATION NEWSLETTER (2001) @qu:"Eric Davidson has made seminal contributions to our understanding of transcriptional regulation and, over 30 years ago, was among the first to comment on the importance of studying the evolution of gene networks." @source:—SCIENCE (June 2001) @qu:"This is a fantastic book!...No one better than Eric Davidson was able to synthesize the whole field of transcriptional regulation as it relates to development...Two points are specially striking in this book, the strength of the intellectual thread running through the book and the scholarly treatment of the most recent and pertinent data...To add to the pleasure, the book is loaded with beautiful documents, illustrating both primary experimental results and remarkable synthetic diagrams." @source:—ANDRÉ ADOUTTE, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (June 2001) @qu:"The book is a serious scientific exposition, crafted with care, beautifully illustrated and very timely. Researchers and students alike will find the book a rich and challenging source of ideas, questions and linkages to the literature. It is the integrated genomic view of the subject, however, that makes the book so valuable. We should never think of evolution and embryogenesis in the same way again." @source:—DAVID J. GALAS, Keck Graduate Institute (February 2001) @qu:"Davidson provides a vivid account of how cis-regulatory DNA integrates complex signals to control the on/off activities of gene batteries during metazoan development. The often-neglected "non-coding" genomic DNA is finally brought to life through the use of illuminating examples that span a broad spectrum of experimental systems. The book should appeal to students and researchers in the areas of development and evolution, as well as to computational biologists who are interested in modeling gene networks." @source:--M. LEVINE, UC Berkeley @qu:"Probably the highest praise I can give a book after finishing it is to want to start reading it all over again. This is that sort of book... a great job in synthesizing enormous quantity of information into a digestible perspective on regulatory patterns and their importance for evolution. I learned an incredible amount from the book..." @source:--D. ERWIN, Smithsonian Institute @qu:"Davidson's book is a fascinating exposition of the role regulatory networks play in both development and evolution. He writes with a clarity and insight that propels us into some of the most fascinating issues in contemporary biology. A must-read for all true students of biology." @source:--DR. LEROY HOOD, Institute for Systems Biology