Whole genome duplication in the house spider

Let’s talk about the evolution, development, and genomics of the common house spider. Yeah, it’s another YouTube video from yours truly.

Schwager EE, Sharma PP, and others (2017) The house spider genome reveals an ancient whole-genome duplication during arachnid evolution. BMC Biol 15(1):62. doi: 10.1186/s12915-017-0399-x.

Hilbrant M, Damen WG, McGregor AP (2012) Evolutionary crossroads in developmental biology: the spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum. Development 139(15):2655-62. doi: 10.1242/dev.078204.


  1. says

    Before I look, is there video of moving spiders in this? (Yes, I am an arachnophobe, and one of my triggers is the locomotion of eight-legged arthropods. Still images, I can kinda handle, sometimes.)

  2. davidc1 says

    I trust lots and lots of house spiders were harmed in the making of this ?
    I hate house spiders ,only spiders i like are the little zebra jumping spiders .

  3. Phrenomythic Productions says

    Not entirely relevant with regards to the Hox genes determine body structure: It recently struck me that tracheal tubes apparantly have popped up in several different (pan)arthropod lineages, including arachnids, but better known in insects, but even as disparate as onychophorans. That makes me wonder whether these are examples of convergent evolution, parallel evolution or derived from some ancient “preadaptations” in common ancestral forms…

  4. jrkrideau says

    Nice spider. Does he need a home?

    Possible evolutionary fear of spider?

    CBC Radio Interiew
    Are humans hardwired to fear snakes and spiders? According to babies, yes

    Itsy Bitsy Spider…: Infants React with Increased Arousal to Spiders and Snakes
    Front. Psychol., 18 October 2017 https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01710

    I have not read the article but the interview was interesting. Must have been a fun study to get clearance from the Human Research Committee.

  5. tomh says

    The wife will not let me harm a spider, it’s always a cup and paper, and put it outside where it can be happy. Even black widows!

  6. chigau (違う) says

    I almost understood some of that.
    I ♥ my house spiders.
    They eat soil mites and aphids.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    If spiders had a proper oxygen-delivery system they might grow to fulfill their potential…
    (inevitable question: “which part of the spider genome transfers superpowers to a human bite victim?”)

  8. kevinkirkpatrick says

    Is there anything like a timeline from the point at which life started to present, showing the approximate/estimated number of genes at each point in time? I’d love to see this whole-genome duplication event @ 430MYA in the context of such a chart.

  9. marcoli says

    Very interesting. At ~ 12 minutes you show the summary of Hox gene expression along the A-P axis of the embryo, and there was a detail that reminded me of an interesting and wonderfully weird thing about spiders. It shows that one of the Antp genes is expressed forward, through the ‘head’ region. Many years ago there was some research (sorry, can’t recall the paper), but it showed the same thing about the spider that particular group worked on, and they proposed that since Antp specifies thoracic identity (legs, etc.), that this novel expression of Antp in spiders helps to explain why spiders have LEGS coming out of body segments that correspond to head segments in other arthropods. That is, spiders walk on their heads.
    Not sure what is the current status of that proposal.

  10. jrkrideau says

    # 1 NelC
    My sympathies. I am fine with spiders, “pictures” of snakes are what get me. I spend a great deal of my time at the film Raiders of the Lost Ark eyes squeezed shut, clutching my girlfriend’s hand and asking if it was safe to look.

  11. Rob Grigjanis says

    When I were a lad, we called them attercops. I’m quite fond of them. Centipedes, not so much.

  12. Steve Morrison says

    #6: According to this, house spiders should not be put outdoors, because many of them can’t survive there.