Pharyngeal Remodelling in Vertebrate Evolution

Anthony Graham, Victoria Shone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The pharynx is an important and intricate region of the body that has its developmental origin in a series of bulges found on the lateral surface of the embryonic head, the pharyngeal arches and these are a defining feature of vertebrate embryos. However, during evolution, the pharynx has also undergone extensive modifications, and these are particularly marked at three key transitions: the emergence of the vertebrates, the gnathostomes and the tetrapods. At each of these junctures the pharynx was extensively remodelled and mechanistic insights into how this was achieved can be gleaned from comparative analyses of pharyngeal development. In this chapter, we discuss the complex development of the pharynx. We consider the commonalities and differences between the pharyngeal region of vertebrates and other deuterostomes. We highlight the importance of early developmental events in the pharyngeal endoderm for laying down the fundamental organisation of this region, including the number of segments formed. Finally, we consider how the remodelling of the pharynx and the loss of pharyngeal segmentation from the adult form was achieved with the tetrapods. Overall, in this chapter we highlight the conserved and derived aspects of pharyngeal development and how these underpin the anatomy of this region.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEvolution and Development of Fishes
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781316832172
ISBN (Print)9781107179448
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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