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Left-right patterning: conserved and divergent mechanisms
Tetsuya Nakamura, Hiroshi Hamada


The left-right (LR) asymmetry of visceral organs is fundamental to their function and position within the body. Over the past decade or so, the molecular mechanisms underlying the establishment of such LR asymmetry have been revealed in many vertebrate and invertebrate model organisms. These studies have identified a gene network that contributes to this process and is highly conserved from sea urchin to mouse. By contrast, some specific steps of the process, such as the symmetry-breaking event and situs-specific organogenesis, appear to have diverged during evolution. Here, we summarize the common and divergent mechanisms by which LR asymmetry is established in vertebrates.

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