The Implications of “The Bauplan” for Development and Evolution of the Tetrapod Limb

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Abstract

We are witness to a 400 million-year-natural experiment that reveals the consequences of genetic and environmental changes on the process of limb development. In spite of genetic and environmental evolution, the pattern of the tetrapod limb has remained effectively similar throughout its history. This conserved pattern of morphological organization, or “bauplan”, underlies the evolutionary diversity of tetrapods.