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Evolution and development in cave animals: from fish to crustaceans
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology
  • Meredith E. Protas, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley
  • William R. Jeffery, Department of Biology, University of Maryland
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Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Cave animals are excellent models to study the general principles of evolution as well as the mechanisms of adaptation to a novel environment: the perpetual darkness of caves. In this article, two of the major model systems used to study the evolution and development (evo–devo) of cave animals are described: the teleost fish Astyanax mexicanus and the isopod crustacean Asellus aquaticus. The ways in which these animals match the major attributes expected of an evo–devo cave animal model system are described. For both species, we enumerate the regressive and constructive troglomorphic traits that have evolved during their adaptation to cave life, the developmental and genetic basis of these traits, the possible evolutionary forces responsible for them, and potential new areas in which these model systems could be used for further exploration of the evolution of cave animals. Furthermore, we compare the two model cave animals to investigate the mechanisms of troglomorphic evolution. Finally, we propose a few other cave animal systems that would be suitable for development as additional models to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the developmental and genetic mechanisms involved in troglomorphic evolution.


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Publisher Statement
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Protas, M., & Jeffery, W. R. (2012). Evolution and development in cave animals: from fish to crustaceans. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology, 1(6), 823-845., which has been published in final form at 10.1002/wdev.61. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
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Citation Information
Meredith E. Protas and William R. Jeffery. "Evolution and development in cave animals: from fish to crustaceans" Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology Vol. 1 Iss. 6 (2012) p. 823 - 845 ISSN: 1759-7692
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