name = Protostomes
fossil_range = Ediacaran - Recent

image_width = 200px
image_caption = Caribbean Reef Squid, an example of Protostome
regnum = Animalia
subregnum = Eumetazoa
unranked_phylum = Bilateria
unranked_classis = Protostomia
subdivision_ranks = Groups
subdivision =

Protostomia (from the Greek: "mouth first") are a taxon of animals. Together with the deuterostomes and a few smaller phyla, they make up the Bilateria, mostly comprising animals with bilateral symmetry and three germ layers. The major distinctions between deuterostomes and protostomes are found in embryonic development.

In animals at least as complex as an earthworm, the embryo forms a dent on one side, the blastopore, which deepens to become the archenteron, the first phase in the growth of the gut. In deuterostomes, the original dent becomes the anus while the gut eventually tunnels through to make another opening, which forms the mouth. The protostomes were so named because it used to be thought that in their embryos the dent formed the mouth while the anus was formed later, at the opening made by the other end of the gut. More recent research, however, shows that in protostomes the edges of the dent close up in the middle, leaving openings at the ends which become the mouth and anus. [cite journal | title=Evolution of the bilaterian larval foregut | author=Arendt, D., Technau, U., and Wittbrodt, J. | journal=Nature | volume=409 | pages=81-85 | date=4 January 2001 | doi=10.1038/35051075 | url= | accessdate=2008-07-14]

There are other significant differences between the protostome and deuterostome patterns of development:
*Most protostomes are schizocoelomates, meaning a solid mass of the embryonic mesoderm splits to form a coelom. A few, such as Priapulids, have no coelom, but they may have descended from schizocoelomate ancestors. On the other hand all known deuterostomes are enterocoelous, meaning that the coelom is formed from longitudinal pouches of the archenteron which then become separate cavities.
* Within the Protostomes a number of phyla undergo what is known as spiral cleavage which is determinate, meaning that the fate of the cells is determined as they are formed. This is in contrast to deuterostomes which have radial cleavage that is indeterminate.

Current molecular data suggest that protostome animals can be divided into three major groups:
*Ecdysozoa, e.g. arthropods, nematodes
*Platyzoa, e.g. platyhelminthes, rotifers
*Lophotrochozoa, e.g. molluscs, annelids as well as a number of minor taxa of basal or ambiguous affinity.


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  • protostome — Invertebrate phylum in which the mouth forms from the embryonic blastopore. Major protostome phyla are Annelida, Mollusca and Arthropoda. See deuterostome …   Dictionary of molecular biology

  • protostome — noun Etymology: New Latin Protostomia, from prot + Greek stoma mouth more at stomach Date: 1959 any of a major group (Protostomia) of bilateral metazoan animals (as mollusks, annelids, and arthropods) characterized in typical forms by determinate …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Protostome — Protostomia Protostomiens …   Wikipédia en Français

  • protostome — См. protostom …   Dictionary of invertebrate zoology

  • protostome — /proh teuh stohm /, n. Zool. any member of the lower invertebrate phyla in which the mouth appears before the anus during development, cleavage is spiral and determinate, and the coelom forms as a splitting of the mesoderm. Cf. deuterostome.… …   Universalium

  • protostome — noun Any animal, of the former taxon Protostomia, in which the mouth is derived from the embryonic blastopore …   Wiktionary

  • protostome — SYN: blastopore. [proto + G. stoma, mouth] * * * pro·to·stome (proґto stōm) [proto + Gr. stoma mouth] an individual of the Protostomia …   Medical dictionary

  • protostome — [ prəʊtə(ʊ)stəʊm] noun Zoology an organism whose mouth develops from a primary embryonic opening, such as an annelid, mollusc, or arthropod. Compare with deuterostome. Origin 1950s: from proto + Gk stoma mouth …   English new terms dictionary

  • protostome — pro·to·stome …   English syllables

  • protostome — pro•to•stome [[t]ˈproʊ təˌstoʊm[/t]] n. zool. any invertebrate in which the mouth appears before the anus during development, cleavage is spiral and determinate, and the coelom forms as a splitting of the mesoderm …   From formal English to slang

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