Heterochronic Mutation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Heterochronic mutations are genetic lesions that alter the relative timing of events as an organism develops, thereby causing temporal disorganization among tissue identities. Such mutations have been proposed to contribute to the morphological diversity among evolutionarily related species. This article explains heterochronic mutations primarily from the viewpoint of their discovery and analysis in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, with an emphasis on the role of microRNAs. Conservation of heterochronic genes among diverse organisms is also discussed, including findings that link microRNAs to the timing of puberty in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBrenner's Encyclopedia of Genetics
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9780080961569
ISBN (Print)9780123749840
StatePublished - Feb 27 2013

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cell division
  • Developmental timing
  • Gain-of-function mutation
  • Heterochrony
  • Let-7
  • Lin-14
  • Lin-4
  • Loss-of-function mutation
  • MicroRNA (miRNA)
  • Puberty


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