Origin of the Gonad: A phylogenetic analysis of SoxB1 Tracing back human sex-determining gene Sry to an orthologue involved in echinoid metamorphosis
Swalla, Billie J.
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Until twenty-five years ago, the sex determining factor in humans had yet to be identified. The Sox family of transcription factors were identified after the human sex-determining gene SRY was sequenced and compared to other genomes (Bowles et al., 2000). SOX genes have been discovered across the Metazoans but with varying function. Looking at related invertebrate organisms can offer insights into the primary gene function and the evolution of the gene. Echinoderm life cycles begin with a larval, bilaterally symmetric shape which then transforms into a radially symmetric juvenile—a radical metamorphosis! The role of Sox transcription factors in the process of metamorphosis has been described in Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and in this project I will do research on metamorphosis with other echinoids to see if they are similar.