Skip to main content Accesibility Help
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 3
  • Cited by
    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Werneburg, Ingmar and Yaryhin, Oleksandr 2018. Character definition and tempus optimum in comparative chondrocranial research. Acta Zoologica,

    Brykczynska, Urszula Tzika, Athanasia C. Rodriguez, Ivan and Milinkovitch, Michel C. 2013. Contrasted Evolution of the Vomeronasal Receptor Repertoires in Mammals and Squamate Reptiles. Genome Biology and Evolution, Vol. 5, Issue. 2, p. 389.

    Werneburg, Ingmar Tzika, Athanasia C. Hautier, Lionel Asher, Robert J. Milinkovitch, Michel C. and Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R. 2013. Development and embryonic staging in non-model organisms: the case of an afrotherian mammal. Journal of Anatomy, Vol. 222, Issue. 1, p. 2.

  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: August 2009

7 - A pragmatic approach for selecting evo-devo model species in amniotes


One major classical justification of using a model metazoan species for experimentation has been that discoveries of biological phenomena in that species could be extrapolated to other multicellular species. Because the chances that this extrapolation is valid in humans depend on the phylogenetic distance between humans and the model species, many researchers have somewhat sacrificed the major benefits of small size, short generation time and ease of manipulation that characterise some invertebrates in order to use species that humans can more readily relate to, such as the laboratory mouse (Mus musculus). However, the community of biologists has continued to use additional model species because each of the selected taxa have specific features that make experimental manipulation easier (e.g. easy-to-score morphological variation and giant polytene chromosomes in Drosophila melanogaster, or accurate description of the largely invariant complete cell lineage and full neural connectivity in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans).

Ever since the molecular genetic revolution, a constant concern has been the possibility of manipulating the genome of model species. For example, generations of Drosophila scientists have developed and applied ingenious approaches that allow, in principle, screening for any phenotype at any stage of development (reviewed in St Johnston 2002). Even for the mouse model, multiple techniques, such as homologous recombination, tissue-specific activation/inactivation techniques, cloning and RNA interference (RNAi), have been developed for performing genotype- or phenotype-driven experiments. Furthermore, recent access to full genome sequences makes genome engineering of some model species easier.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Evolving Pathways
  • Online ISBN: 9780511541582
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
Badwaik, N. K. & Rasweiler, J. J. IV 2001. Altered trophoblastic differentiation and increased trophoblastic invasiveness during delayed development in the short-tailed fruit bat, Carollia perspicillata. Placenta 22, 124–144.
Benton, M. J. & Donoghue, P. C. J. 2007. Paleontological evidence to date the tree of life. Molecular Biology and Evolution 24, 26–53.
Birkhead, T. R. 1995. Sperm competition: evolutionary causes and consequences. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 7, 755–775.
Bleidorn, C., Eeckhaut, I., Podsiadlowski, L., et al. 2007. Mitochondrial genome and nuclear sequnce data support Myzostomida as part of the annelid radiation. Molecular Biology and Evolution 24, 1690–1701.
Bonneaud, C., Chastel, O., Federici, P., Westerdahl, H. & Sorci, G. 2006. Complex Mhc-based mate choice in a wild passerine. Proceedings of the Royal Society. Biological Sciences 273, 1111–1116.
Borroni, A., Loy, A. & Capanna, E. 1999. A flexible arrangement for the study of moles in captivity. Acta Theriologica 44, 207–214.
Bossuyt, F. & Milinkovitch, M. C. 2000. Convergent adaptive radiations in Madagascan and Asian ranid frogs reveal covariation between larval and adult traits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 97, 6585–6590.
Burk, R. F., Christensen, J. M., Maguire, M. J. 2006. A combined deficiency of vitamins E and C causes severe central nervous system damage in guinea pigs. Journal of Nutrition 136, 1576–1581.
Burt, D. W. 2005. Chicken genome: current status and future opportunities. Genome Research 15, 1692–1698.
Carter, A. M., Blankenship, T. N., Kunzle, H. & Enders, A. C. 2004. Structure of the definitive placenta of the tenrec, Echinops telfairi. Placenta 25, 218–232.
Carvalho, R. A., Lins-Lainson, Z. C. & Lainson, R. 1997. Breeding nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus) in captivity. Contemporary Topics in Laboratory Animal Science 36, 66–68.
Cavanagh, R. D., Lambin, X., Ergon, T. 2004. Disease dynamics in cyclic populations of field voles (Microtus agrestis): cowpox virus and vole tuberculosis (Mycobacterium microti). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Biological Sciences 271, 859–867.
Cretekos, C. J., Weatherbee, S. D., Chen, C. al. 2005. Embryonic staging system for the short-tailed fruit bat, Carollia perspicillata, a model organism for the mammalian order Chiroptera, based upon timed pregnancies in captive-bred animals. Developmental Dynamics 233, 721–738.
Dengler-Crish, C. M., Crish, S. D., O'Riain, M. J. & Catania, K. C. 2006. Organization of the somatosensory cortex in elephant shrews (E. edwardii). Anatomical Record Part A: Discoveries in Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology 288, 859–866.
Dobson, G. 2003. On being the right size: heart design, mitochondrial efficiency and lifespan potential. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology 30, 590–597.
Dobson, S. E., Smith, A. T. & Gao, W. X. 1998. Social and ecological influences on dispersal and philopatry in the plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae). Behavioral Ecology 9, 622–635.
Drenhaus, U., Rager, G., Eggli, P. & Kretz, R. 2006. On the postnatal development of the striate cortex (V1) in the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri). European Journal of Neuroscience 24, 479–490.
Du, W. G. & Ji, X. 2003. The effects of incubation thermal environments on size, locomotor performance and early growth of hatchling soft-shelled turtles, Pelodiscus sinensis. Journal of Thermal Biology 28, 279–286.
Dusheck, J. 2002. It's the ecology, stupid!Nature 418, 578–579.
Fishman, M. C. 2001. Genomics. Zebrafish: the canonical vertebrate. Science 294, 1290–1291.
Fondon, J. W. III & Garner, H. R. 2004. Molecular origins of rapid and continuous morphological evolution. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 101, 18058–18063.
Freyer, C., Zeller, U. & Renfree, M. B. 2002. Ultrastructure of the placenta of the tammar wallaby, Macropus eugenii: comparison with the grey short-tailed opossum, Monodelphis domestica. Journal of Anatomy 201, 101–119.
Gentner, T. Q., Fenn, K. M., Margoliash, D. & Nusbaum, H. C. 2006. Recursive syntactic pattern learning by songbirds. Nature 440, 1204–1207.
Gilbert, S. F. & Bolker, J. A. 2003. Ecological developmental biology: preface to the symposium. Evolution & Development 5, 3–8.
Gilbert, S. F., Loredo, G. A., Brukman, A. & Burke, A. C. 2001. Morphogenesis of the turtle shell: the development of a novel structure in tetrapod evolution. Evolution & Development 3, 47–58.
Grenard, S. 1991. Handbook of Alligators and Crocodiles. Malaba: Krieger Publishing Company.
Guillette, L. J. Jr. & Gunderson, M. P. 2001. Alterations in development of reproductive and endocrine systems of wildlife populations exposed to endocrine-disrupting contaminants. Reproduction 122, 857–864.
Holland, L. Z., Laudet, V. & Schubert, M. 2004. The chordate amphioxus: an emerging model organism for developmental biology. Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences 61, 2290–2308.
Jackson, S. 2003. Australian Mammals: Biology and Captive Management. Collingwood, Australia: CSIRO Publishing.
Johnson, F. & Whitney, O. 2005. Singing-driven gene expression in the developing songbird brain. Physiology and Behavior 86, 390–398.
Kiefer, J. C. 2006. Emerging developmental model systems. Developmental Dynamics 235, 2895–2899.
Kishino, H., Thorne, J. L. & Bruno, W. J. 2001. Performance of a divergence time estimation method under a probabilistic model of rate evolution. Molecular Biology and Evolution 18, 352–361.
Kocher, T. D., Conroy, J. A., McKaye, K. R. & Stauffer, J. R. 1993. Similar morphologies of cichlid fish in Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi are due to convergence. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 2, 158–165.
Kohler, G. 2005. Incubation of Reptile Eggs: Basics, Guidelines, Experiences. Malaba: Krieger Publishing Company.
Krenz, J. G., Naylor, G. J., Shaffer, H. B. & Janzen, F. J. 2005. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution of turtles. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37, 178–191.
Kress, A., Regli, C., Spornitz, U. M. & Morson, G. 2004. Changes in the epithelium of the vaginal complex during the estrous cycle of the marsupial Monodelphis domestica. 2. Scanning electron microscopy study. Cells Tissues Organs 178, 48–59.
Krohmer, R. W. 2004. The male red-sided garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis parietalis): reproductive pattern and behavior. Ilar Journal 45, 54–74.
Kunzle, H. 2006. Thalamo-striatal projections in the hedgehog tenrec. Brain Research 1100, 78–92.
Kuraku, S., Usuda, R. & Kuratani, S. 2005. Comprehensive survey of carapacial ridge-specific genes in turtle implies co-option of some regulatory genes in carapace evolution. Evolution & Development 7, 3–17.
Lapid, R., Nir, I., Snapir, N. & Robinzon, B. 2004. Reproductive traits in the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca terrestris): new tools for the enhancement of reproductive success and survivorship. Theriogenology 61, 1147–1162.
Losos, J. B., Jackman, T. R., Larson, A., Queiroz, K. & Rodriguez-Schettino, L. 1998. Contingency and determinism in replicated adaptive radiations of island lizards. Science 279, 2115–2118.
Lovern, M. B., Holmes, M. M. & Wade, J. 2004. The green anole (Anolis carolinensis): a reptilian model for laboratory studies of reproductive morphology and behavior. Ilar Journal 45, 54–64.
Lovern, M. B. & Passek, K. M. 2002. Sequential alternation of offspring sex from successive eggs by female green anoles, Anolis carolinensis. Canadian Journal of Zoology 80, 77–82.
Mand, S., Specht, S., Zahner, H. & Hoerauf, A. 2006. Ultrasonography in filaria-infected rodents: detection of adult Litomosoides sigmodontis and Brugia malayi filariae. Tropical Medicine and International Health 11, 1382–1387.
Metscher, B. D. & Ahlberg, P. E. 1999. Zebrafish in context: uses of a laboratory model in comparative studies. Developmental Biology 210, 1–14.
Milinkovitch, M. C. & Tzika, A. 2007. Escaping the mouse trap: the selection of new Evo-Devo model species. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution 308, 337–346.
Mills, A. D., Crawford, L. L., Domjan, M. & Faure, J. M. 1997. The behavior of the Japanese or domestic quail Coturnix japonica. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews 21, 261–281.
Milnes, M. R., Allen, D., Bryan, T. A., Sedacca, C. D. & Guillette, L. J. Jr 2004. Developmental effects of embryonic exposure to toxaphene in the American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiolology. C. Toxicology & Pharmacology 138, 81–87.
Minelli, A. 2003. The Development of Animal Form: Ontogeny, Morphology, and Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Murphy, W. J., Eizirik, E., Johnson, W. E. 2001a. Molecular phylogenetics and the origins of placental mammals. Nature 409, 614–618.
Murphy, W. J., Eizirik, E., O'Brien, S. J. 2001b. Resolution of the early placental mammal radiation using Bayesian phylogenetics. Science 294, 2348–2351.
Mzilikazi, N. & Lovegrove, B. G. 2004. Daily torpor in free-ranging rock elephant shrews, Elephantulus myurus: a year-long study. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 77, 285–296.
Mzilikazi, N. & Lovegrove, B. G. 2006. Noradrenalin induces thermogenesis in a phylogenetically ancient eutherian mammal, the rock elephant shrew, Elephantulus myurus. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 176, 75–84.
Nagashima, H., Uchida, K. 2005. Turtle–chicken chimera: an experimental approach to understanding evolutionary innovation in the turtle. Developmental Dynamics 232, 149–161.
Ohya, Y. K., Kuraku, S. & Kuratani, S. 2005. Hox code in embryos of Chinese soft-shelled turtle Pelodiscus sinensis correlates with the evolutionary innovation in the turtle. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 304, 107–118.
Ottinger, M. A., Abdelnabi, M., Li, al. 2004. The Japanese quail: a model for studying reproductive aging of hypothalamic systems. Experimental Gerontology 39, 1679–1693.
Poole, T. 1999. The UFAW Handbook on the Care and Management of Laboratory Animals. Oxford: Blackwell Science.
Rathbun, G. B., Beaman, P. & Maliniak, E. 1981. Capture, husbandry and breeding of rufous elephant-shrews (Elephantulus rufescens). International Zoo Yearbook 21, 176–184.
Regli, C. & Kress, A. 2002. Changes in the epithelium of the vaginal complex during the estrous cycle of the marsupial Monodelphis domestica. 1. Transmission electron microscopy study. Cells Tissues Organs 172, 276–296.
Ruber, L., Verheyen, E. & Meyer, A. 1999. Replicated evolution of trophic specializations in an endemic cichlid fish lineage from Lake Tanganyika. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 96, 10230–10235.
Sachser, N. 1998. Of domestic and wild guinea pigs: studies in sociophysiology, domestication, and social evolution. Naturwissenschaften 85, 307–317.
Sears, K. E., Behringer, R. R., Rasweiler, J. J. IV & Niswander, L. A. 2006. Development of bat flight: morphologic and molecular evolution of bat wing digits. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the USA 103, 6581–6586.
Shimozuru, M., Kikusui, T., Takeuchi, Y. & Mori, Y. 2006. Scent-marking and sexual activity may reflect social hierarchy among group-living male Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus). Physiology and Behavior 89, 644–649.
Smith, K. K. 2001. Early development of the neural plate, neural crest and facial region of marsupials. Journal of Anatomy 199, 121–131.
Smotherman, M. & Metzner, W. 2005. Auditory-feedback control of temporal call patterns in echolocating horseshoe bats. Journal of Neurophysiology 93, 1295–1303.
Springer, M. S., Murphy, W. J., Eizirik, E. & O'Brien, S. J. 2003. Placental mammal diversification and the Cretaceous–Tertiary boundary. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 100, 1056–1061.
St Johnston, D. 2002. The art and design of genetic screens: Drosophila melanogaster. Nature Reviews Genetics 3, 176–188.
Stanhope, M. J., Waddell, V. G., Madsen, O. 1998. Molecular evidence for multiple origins of Insectivora and for a new order of endemic African insectivore mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 95, 9967–9972.
Stern, C. D. 2005. The chick; a great model system becomes even greater. Developmental Cell 8, 9–17.
Temple-Smith, P. & Grant, T. 2001. Uncertain breeding: a short history of reproduction in monotremes. Reproduction, Fertility and Development 13, 487–497.
Thewissen, J. G., Cohn, M. J., Stevens, L. S. 2006. Developmental basis for hind-limb loss in dolphins and origin of the cetacean bodyplan. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 103, 8414–8418.
Tissir, F., Lambert, Rouvroit C., Sire, J. Y., Meyer, G. & Goffinet, A. M. 2003. Reelin expression during embryonic brain development in Crocodylus niloticus. Journal of Comparative Neurology 457, 250–262.
Dijk, M. A., Madsen, O., Catzeflis, al. 2001. Protein sequence signatures support the African clade of mammals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 98, 188–193.
Rheede, T., Bastiaans, T., Boone, D. N. 2006. The platypus is in its place: nuclear genes and indels confirm the sister group relation of monotremes and therians. Molecular Biology and Evolution 23, 587–597.
Wagner, G. P. & Larsson, H. C. E. 2003. What is the promise of developmental evolution? III. The crucible of developmental evolution. Journal of Experimental Zoology B (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 300, 1–4.
Wang, Z., Dooley, T. P., Curto, E. V., Davis, R. L. & VandeBerg, J. L. 2004. Cross-species application of cDNA microarrays to profile gene expression using UV-induced melanoma in Monodelphis domestica as the model system. Genomics 83, 588–599.
Wiens, J. J., Brandley, M. C. & Reeder, T. W. 2006. Why does a trait evolve multiple times within a clade? Repeated evolution of snake-like body form in squamate reptiles. Evolution 60, 123–141.
Wilson, J. D., Shaw, G., Leihy, M. L. & Renfree, M. B. 2002. The marsupial model for male phenotypic development. Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism 13, 78–83.