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Keywords:

  • Anolis;
  • lizard;
  • evo-devo;
  • genome;
  • staging series

Abstract

Vertebrate developmental biologists typically rely on a limited number of model organisms to understand the evolutionary bases of morphological change. Unfortunately, a typical model system for squamates (lizards and snakes) has not yet been developed leaving many fundamental questions about morphological evolution unaddressed. New model systems would ideally include clades, rather than single species, that are amenable to both laboratory studies of development and field-based analyses of ecology and evolution. Combining an understanding of development with an understanding of ecology and evolution within and between closely related species has the potential to create a seamless understanding of how genetic variation underlies ecologically and evolutionarily relevant variation within populations and between species. Here we briefly introduce a new model system for the integration of development, evolution, and ecology, the lizard genus Anolis, a diverse group of lizards whose ecology and evolution is well understood, and whose genome has recently been sequenced. We present a developmental staging series for Anolis lizards that can act as a baseline for later comparative and experimental studies within this genus. J. Morphol., 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.