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The arthropod compound eye is one of the three main types of eyes observed in the animal kingdom. Comparison of the eyes seen in Insecta, Crustacea, Myriapoda and Chelicerata reveals considerable variation in terms of overall cell number, cell positioning, and photoreceptor rhabdomeres, yet, molecular data suggest there may be unexpected similarities. We review here the role of Pax6 in eye development and evolution and the relationship of Pax6 with other retinal determination genes and signaling pathways. We then discuss how the study of changes in Pax6 primary structure, in the gene networks controlled by Pax6 and in the relationship of Pax6 with signaling pathways may contribute to our insight into the relative role of conserved molecular-genetic mechanisms and emergence of evolutionary novelty in shaping the ommatidial eyes seen in the Arthropoda.

Original publication




Journal article


Arthropod Struct Dev

Publication Date





379 - 391