A common plan for dorsoventral patterning in Bilateria

Nature. 1996 Mar 7;380(6569):37-40. doi: 10.1038/380037a0.


Functional studies seem now to confirm, as first suggested by E. Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire in 1822, that there was an inversion of the dorsoventral axis during animal evolution. A conserved system of extracellular signals provides positional information for the allocation of embryonic cells to specific tissue types both in Drosophila and vertebrates; the ventral region of Drosophila is homologous to the dorsal side of the vertebrate. Developmental studies are now revealing some of the characteristics of the ancestral animal that gave rise to the arthropod and mammalian lineages, for which we propose the name Urbilateria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / anatomy & histology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / anatomy & histology*
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Glycoproteins*
  • Insect Hormones / physiology
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Xenopus


  • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Proteins
  • dpp protein, Drosophila
  • sog protein, Drosophila
  • chordin