Standard Article

Vertebrate Evolution: Genes and Development

  1. Anthony Graham

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005921



How to Cite

Graham, A. 2006. Vertebrate Evolution: Genes and Development. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. King's College, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


The most significant differences between the vertebrates and the other chordates lie in the head. These novel features probably emerged as a result of modifications to the developmental program, and they are thought to have aided the vertebrates in assuming a predacious lifestyle. More specifically, the evolution of these characteristics must have involved extensive regionalization of the central nervous system, the evolution of neural crest and ectodermal placodes and alterations to the pharynx.


  • ectodermal placodes;
  • genome evolution;
  • neural crest;
  • pharyngeal segmentation;
  • chordates;
  • vertebrate evolution