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Aug 2005 BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology

An evolutionary history of the FGF superfamily.


Popovici C, Roubin R, Coulier F, Birnbaum D


Fibroblast growth factors (FGF) are associated with multiple developmental and metabolic processes in triploblasts, and perhaps also in diploblasts. The evolution of the FGF superfamily has accompanied the major morphological and functional innovations of metazoan species. The study of FGFs throughout species shows that the FGF superfamily can be subdivided in eight families in present-day organisms and has evolved through phases of gene duplications and gene losses. At least two major expansions of the superfamily can be recognized: a first expansion increased the number of FGFs from one or few archeo-FGFs to eight proto-FGFs, prototypic of the eight families. A second expansion, which took place during euchordate evolution, is associated with genome duplications. It increased the number of members in the families. Subsequent losses reduced that number to the present-day figures.

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