Recent investigations into the evolution of deuterostomes and the origin of chordates have paid considerable attention to hemichordates (acorn worms), as hemichordates and echinoderms are the closest chordate relatives. The present study prepared cDNA libraries from Ptychodera flava, to study expression and function of genes involved in development of the hemichordate body plan. Expressed sequence tag (EST) analyses of nine cDNA libraries yielded 18,832 cloned genes expressed in eggs, 18,739 in blastulae, 18,539 in gastrulae, 18,811 in larvae, 18,978 in juveniles, 11,802 in adult proboscis, 17,259 in stomochord, 11,886 in gills, and 11,580 in liver, respectively. A set of 34,159 uni-gene clones of P. flava was obtained. This cDNA resource will be valuable for studying temporal and spatial expression of acorn worm genes during development.
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