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Evolution of bilaterian central nervous systems: a single origin?

Overview of attention for article published in EvoDevo, January 2013
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#50 of 310)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (91st percentile)

Mentioned by

1 blog
9 tweeters
1 Facebook page
2 Wikipedia pages


128 Dimensions

Readers on

258 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
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Evolution of bilaterian central nervous systems: a single origin?
Published in
EvoDevo, January 2013
DOI 10.1186/2041-9139-4-27
Pubmed ID

Linda Z Holland, João E Carvalho, Hector Escriva, Vincent Laudet, Michael Schubert, Sebastian M Shimeld, Jr-Kai Yu


The question of whether the ancestral bilaterian had a central nervous system (CNS) or a diffuse ectodermal nervous system has been hotly debated. Considerable evidence supports the theory that a CNS evolved just once. However, an alternative view proposes that the chordate CNS evolved from the ectodermal nerve net of a hemichordate-like ancestral deuterostome, implying independent evolution of the CNS in chordates and protostomes. To specify morphological divisions along the anterior/posterior axis, this ancestor used gene networks homologous to those patterning three organizing centers in the vertebrate brain: the anterior neural ridge, the zona limitans intrathalamica and the isthmic organizer, and subsequent evolution of the vertebrate brain involved elaboration of these ancestral signaling centers; however, all or part of these signaling centers were lost from the CNS of invertebrate chordates. The present review analyzes the evidence for and against these theories. The bulk of the evidence indicates that a CNS evolved just once - in the ancestral bilaterian. Importantly, in both protostomes and deuterostomes, the CNS represents a portion of a generally neurogenic ectoderm that is internalized and receives and integrates inputs from sensory cells in the remainder of the ectoderm. The expression patterns of genes involved in medio/lateral (dorso/ventral) patterning of the CNS are similar in protostomes and chordates; however, these genes are not similarly expressed in the ectoderm outside the CNS. Thus, their expression is a better criterion for CNS homologs than the expression of anterior/posterior patterning genes, many of which (for example, Hox genes) are similarly expressed both in the CNS and in the remainder of the ectoderm in many bilaterians. The evidence leaves hemichordates in an ambiguous position - either CNS centralization was lost to some extent at the base of the hemichordates, or even earlier, at the base of the hemichordates + echinoderms, or one of the two hemichordate nerve cords is homologous to the CNS of protostomes and chordates. In any event, the presence of part of the genetic machinery for the anterior neural ridge, the zona limitans intrathalamica and the isthmic organizer in invertebrate chordates together with similar morphology indicates that these organizers were present, at least in part, at the base of the chordates and were probably elaborated upon in the vertebrate lineage.

Twitter Demographics

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 258 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 4 2%
Brazil 3 1%
United Kingdom 2 <1%
Japan 2 <1%
Germany 1 <1%
Chile 1 <1%
Norway 1 <1%
Australia 1 <1%
Unknown 243 94%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 57 22%
Student > Bachelor 41 16%
Researcher 39 15%
Student > Master 29 11%
Professor > Associate Professor 14 5%
Other 45 17%
Unknown 33 13%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 122 47%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 60 23%
Neuroscience 12 5%
Psychology 5 2%
Medicine and Dentistry 4 2%
Other 19 7%
Unknown 36 14%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 16. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 23 April 2022.
All research outputs
of 21,217,760 outputs
Outputs from EvoDevo
of 310 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 188,593 outputs
Outputs of similar age from EvoDevo
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 21,217,760 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 91st percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 310 research outputs from this source. They typically receive more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 9.3. This one has done well, scoring higher than 84% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 188,593 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them