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The starfish is an advantageous organism in which to investigate developmental modes. It is widely known that maternal substances accumulated in the course of oogenesis affect various developmental phenomena. Vitellogen is the most abundant maternal substance in the egg and has been studied in various species including sea urchins. Vitellogen and the vitellogenin gene have been analysed with regard to their relevance to developmental modes in two Heliocidaris species (Byrne et al., 1999) and Japanese sea urchins (Yokota & Amemiya, 1998). In starfish, however, relatively little is known about the yolk and yolk protein.
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