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What determines direction of asymmetry : genes, environment or chance ? [Royal Society Open Science]

Keywords : left–right asymmetry, symmetry breaking, random asymmetry, evolution of development, handed behaviour, phenotypic plasticity

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

Conspicuous asymmetries seen in many animals and plants offer diverse opportunities to test how the development of a similar morphological feature has evolved in wildly different types of organisms. One key question is : do common rules govern how direction of asymmetry is determined (symmetry is broken) during ontogeny to yield an asymmetrical individual ? Examples from numerous organisms illustrate how diverse this process is. These examples also provide some surprising answers to related questions. Is direction of asymmetry in an individual determined by genes, environment or chance ? Is direction of asymmetry determined locally (structure by structure) or globally (at the level of the whole body) ? Does direction of asymmetry persist when an asymmetrical structure regenerates following autotomy ?(...)

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