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Explain with examples that the genes that control

development of body plans are similar in plants, animals

and fungi.
A body plan is the general structure of an organism. If one were to take the example of
the Drosphilia fruit fly, it has various body parts; head, abdomen, thorax, etc. The body
parts are arranged in a particular arrangement in space, usually in a bilateral symmetry.
This is its body plan.
Our knowledge of the processes involved in cell differentiation is derived from modern
molecular genetic studies of the fruit fly, Drosphilia melanogaster. The species have
been studied for over a hundred years due to the various ethical and the practical
reasons; short sexual maturation period, short development time from embryo to larvae
and it is considered much more ethical to use flies than larger multicellular organisms,
such as monkeys, in genetic experiments and they also have a relatively short life cycle.
Proteins control the development of a body plan
they help set up the basic body plan so that
everything is in the right place, i.e. kegs grow where
legs should grow. The proteins that control body plan
development are coded for genes called homeotic
genes. In the example of the fruit fly, two homeotic
clusters control the body plan of the fly. One controls
the development of the head and the anterior thorax
and the other controls the development of the
posterior thorax and the abdomen. Any mutations of
these genes could change one body parts placement
with another body part.
A similar form of genetic control of development can be observed in other organisms.
Homeobox genes are genes that control the development of the body plan of one
organism including the polarity and positioning of the organs. They are present in the
genomes of many segmented animals from worms to vertebrates, such as humans. The
genes each contain a sequence of 180 base pairs- a homeobox- and this sequence
produces polypeptides of about 60 amino acids. Some of these are transcription factors
and they bind to genes to initiate transcription.
Homeobox genes are arranged in clusters called Hox clusters. As organisms become
larger and more complicated, the hox clusters they possess. The increase in the number
of Hox clusters probably arose by duplication of a single complex that is known to be in
smaller segmented organisms and has allowed the more organisms to evolve from
simpler organisms.
The genes are expressed in specific patterns in certain stages during the development of
the embryo, in both vertebrates and invertebrates. They specify the identities of
embryonic cells and the development of the body plan and they are always activated in
the same order; from anterior to posterior.

Outline how apoptosis can act as a mechanism to change
body plans.
During the lifetime of an organism, cells live and die. However during development,
some cells have to die and break down. This occurs through a highly controlled process
called apoptosis.
First described in 1842 by Carl Vogt, it was resurrected and researched extensively
from 1965 by John Foxton Ross Kerr. The sequence of events eventually allowed it to be
differentiated from necrosis. Apoptosis initiates by enzymes breaking down the cell
cytoskeleton. This causes the cytoplasm to become dense with the organelles becoming
tightly packed. The cell surface membrane changes and small bits called blebs form.
This is followed by chromatin condensing and the nuclear envelope breaking, after
which the DNA breaks into fragments. The cell breaks into vesicles that are taken up by
phagocytosis. The cellular debris is disposed of and does not damage any other cells or
tissues. This process is accelerated in order to prevent any interference and so avoid
any mishap.
It is primarily controlled by a diverse range of cell signals, coming from both inside and
outside the cell. These signals include cytokines made by cells of the immune system,
hormones and growth factors. Proteins are released into the cytosol and they bind to
apoptosis inhibitor proteins and allow the process to occur.
While mitosis and differentiation create the bulk of the body parts, apoptosis refines the
parts by removing the unwanted structures. In human embryonic development, the
hands and feet develop during which the digits are connected to each other. They are
only separated when the connecting tissue undergoes apoptosis. All cells contain genes
that code for proteins that promote or inhibit apoptosis. During development, genes hat
control apoptosis are switched on and off in appropriate cells so that some die and the
correct body plan develops.

Means to an End: Apoptosis and Other Cell Death Mechanisms - Douglas R. Green
Molecular Biology of the Cell (fifth edition) - Bruce Alberts, Alexander Johnson, Julian
Lewis, Martin Raff, Keith Roberts, Peter Walter
A2 level biology for OCR Gloria Barnett, James Foster Julian Hardwick, Derek Harvey,
Stephen Philips, Adrian Schmit, Sophie Watkins, Anna Fe Williamson
OCR A Biology Sue Hocking, Peter Kennedy, Frank Sochaki, Mark Winterbottom
Aptosis Wikipedia
Body plan Wikipedia
Hox Box Wikipedia
Drosophilia Wikipedia
Developmental genes Wikipedia
Transcription Wikipedia