Evolution of the nervous system in Paraphanostoma (Acoela)

O.I. Raikova, M. Reuter, M.K.S. Gustafsson, Aaron Maule, David Halton, U. Jondelius

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31 Citations (Scopus)


According to recent molecular studies, the Acoela are the earliest extant bilaterian group. Their nervous system displays a striking variety of patterns. The aim of the present investigation was to study the variability of the nervous system in a monophyletic group of the Acoela. Six species of Paraphanostoma were chosen for the study. Using immunocytochemical methods and confocal scanning laser microscopy, the immunoreactive patterns of serotonin (5-HT) and the neuropeptide GYIRFamide were described in detail. The study has demonstrated that the brains in Paraphanostoma species, although diverse in detail, still follow the same general pattern. 18S rDNA sequences were used to generate a hypothesis of the phylogeny within the group. Characters of the nervous system revealed in this study were coded and analysed together with 18S rDNA data. Several synapomorphies in the nervous system characters were identified. However, numerous parallelisms in the nervous system evolution have occurred. Data obtained demonstrate that the genus Paraphanostoma is closely related to Childia and should belong to the same family, Childiidae.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-88
Number of pages18
JournalZoologica Scripta
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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