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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Conserved pattern of embryonic actin gene expression in several sea urchins and a sand dollar.

An examination of the size and relative abundance of actin-coding RNA in embryos of four sea urchins (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, Arbacia punctulata, Lytechinus variegatus) and one sand dollar (Echinarachnius parma) reveals a generally conserved program of expression. In each species the relative abundance of these sequences is low in early embryos and begins to rise during late cleavage or blastula stages. In the four sea urchins, actin-coding RNAs increase between approximately 9- and 35-fold by pluteus or an earlier stage, and in the sand dollar about 5.5-fold by blastula. A major actin-coding RNA class of 2.0-2.2 kilobases (kb) is found in each species. A smaller actin-coding RNA class, which accumulates during embryogenesis, is also present in S. purpuratus (1.8 kb), S. droebachiensis (1.9 kb), and A. punctulata (1.6 kb), but apparently absent in L. variegatus and E. parma. In S. droebachiensis, actin-coding RNA is relatively abundant in unfertilized eggs and drops sharply by the 16-cell stage. This is in contrast to the other sea urchins where the actin message content is relatively low in eggs and does not change substantially in the embryos throughout early cleavage. The observations in this study suggest that the pattern of embryonic expression of at least some members of this gene family is ancient and conserved.[1]


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