Arthropod segmentation: beyond the Drosophila paradigm

Nat Rev Genet. 2005 Dec;6(12):905-16. doi: 10.1038/nrg1724.


Most of our knowledge about the mechanisms of segmentation in arthropods comes from work on Drosophila melanogaster. In recent years it has become clear that this mechanism is far from universal, and different arthropod groups have distinct modes of segmentation that operate through divergent genetic mechanisms. We review recent data from a range of arthropods, identifying which features of the D. melanogaster segmentation cascade are present in the different groups, and discuss the evolutionary implications of their conserved and divergent aspects. A model is emerging, although slowly, for the way that arthropod segmentation mechanisms have evolved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arthropods / anatomy & histology*
  • Arthropods / genetics*
  • Body Patterning / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics*
  • Genes / genetics*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Phylogeny*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*