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Protostomes vs. Deuterostomes: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sawaira Riaz || By Sumera Saeed || Updated on October 4, 2023
Protostomes develop mouth first from the blastopore, while deuterostomes develop the anus first.

Key Differences

Protostomes and deuterostomes are distinguished by their embryonic development processes. In protostomes, the first opening formed during embryonic development, the blastopore, becomes the mouth. In contrast, in deuterostomes, the blastopore becomes the anus.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023
Among protostomes, you'll find organisms such as mollusks, annelids, and arthropods. They typically undergo spiral and determinate cleavage during embryonic development, meaning the fate of each cell is fixed early. Deuterostomes, on the other hand, include echinoderms and chordates. Their embryonic cells divide radially and indeterminately, allowing for flexibility in the development of each cell.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023
Body cavity formation is another distinguishing feature. Protostomes usually develop their body cavity, or coelom, by splitting a block of mesodermal cells. This is known as schizocoely. Deuterostomes, alternatively, form the coelom from outpocketings in the gut, a process termed enterocoely.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023
Genetic studies have provided additional insights into protostomes and deuterostomes' differences and evolutionary history. Protostomes exhibit a vast array of body plans and adaptations, whereas deuterostomes have a more consistent morphology, indicating different evolutionary pressures and histories.
Harlon Moss
Oct 04, 2023

Comparison Chart

Blastopore Development

Becomes the mouth
Becomes the anus
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023
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Cleavage Pattern

Spiral and determinate
Radial and indeterminate
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Body Cavity Formation

Schizocoely (splitting of mesodermal cells)
Enterocoely (outpocketings of the gut)
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Representative Organisms

Mollusks, annelids, arthropods
Echinoderms, chordates
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Genetic Diversity

Diverse body plans
More consistent morphology
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Protostomes and Deuterostomes Definitions

Protostomes

Organisms exhibiting spiral, determinate cleavage.
Worms are examples of protostomes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023
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Deuterostomes

Creatures where the anus forms before the mouth during development.
Lancelets, simple chordates, are deuterostomes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Protostomes

Creatures developing their coelom by schizocoely.
Snails, as mollusks, fall under protostomes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Deuterostomes

Animals forming their coelom via enterocoely.
Sea cucumbers, being echinoderms, are categorized as deuterostomes.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Protostomes

Animals where the blastopore becomes the mouth.
Arthropods are a group of protostomes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Deuterostomes

Organisms showing radial, indeterminate cleavage.
Chordates, including humans, are deuterostomes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Protostomes

Animals where the mouth forms before the anus in development.
Spiders, being arthropods, are protostomes.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Deuterostomes

Animals in which the blastopore becomes the anus.
Starfish, as echinoderms, are deuterostomes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Protostomes

Groups that diverged early in the evolution of bilaterians.
Insects are among the diverse representatives of protostomes.
Janet White
Oct 04, 2023

Deuterostomes

Taxa that shares a common ancestor with chordates and echinoderms.
Vertebrates, a subgroup of chordates, are deuterostomes.
Harlon Moss
Oct 04, 2023

Protostomes

Plural of protostome
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2016

Deuterostomes

Plural of deuterostome
Sumera Saeed
Nov 22, 2016

FAQs

What does the term "blastopore" refer to in protostomes and deuterostomes?

In protostomes, the blastopore becomes the mouth, while in deuterostomes, it becomes the anus.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Are humans protostomes or deuterostomes?

Humans, as chordates, are deuterostomes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

What kind of cleavage do protostomes exhibit during development?

Protostomes exhibit spiral and determinate cleavage.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Are the nervous systems of protostomes and deuterostomes different?

Yes, protostomes typically have a ventral nervous system, whereas deuterostomes have a dorsal nervous system.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

How do deuterostomes form their body cavity?

Deuterostomes form their coelom through a process called enterocoely.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Which group, protostomes or deuterostomes, has a more diverse range of body plans?

Protostomes exhibit a wider array of body plans compared to deuterostomes.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

How are the cleavage patterns different between protostomes and deuterostomes?

Protostomes have spiral and determinate cleavage, while deuterostomes have radial and indeterminate cleavage.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Why is the blastopore's fate (mouth or anus) important in distinguishing protostomes from deuterostomes?

It's a fundamental difference in their embryonic development, reflecting divergent evolutionary pathways.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

How does molecular genetics support the distinction between protostomes and deuterostomes?

Genetic studies have identified distinct genetic markers and developmental genes unique to each group, reinforcing their separation.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Are there any transitional or intermediate forms between protostomes and deuterostomes?

While there are species that exhibit unique developmental patterns, there isn't a recognized "transitional" form between the two groups.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

How do environmental factors impact the development of protostomes and deuterostomes?

Environmental factors, such as temperature or salinity, can influence developmental rates and patterns, but the fundamental distinctions between the two groups remain consistent.
Harlon Moss
Oct 04, 2023

Is it possible for a protostome to evolve into a deuterostome, or vice versa?

Evolutionarily, the two groups diverged from a common ancestor, but direct transitions from one to the other in modern species are not observed.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

What is schizocoely?

Schizocoely is the process by which protostomes develop their coelom by splitting mesodermal cells.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Which organisms are commonly categorized as deuterostomes?

Echinoderms and chordates are commonly recognized as deuterostomes.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Do protostomes and deuterostomes have any similarities?

Yes, both are bilaterally symmetrical during some stage of their life and belong to the supergroup Bilateria.
Sara Rehman
Oct 04, 2023

Which animals are commonly protostomes?

Mollusks, annelids, and arthropods are examples of protostomes.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 04, 2023

Are there any exceptions to the developmental patterns of protostomes and deuterostomes?

Yes, while general patterns exist, there are species-specific variations and exceptions within both protostomes and deuterostomes.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

Are echinoderms closely related to humans in terms of evolutionary lineage?

Yes, both echinoderms and humans are deuterostomes, indicating a shared evolutionary ancestor.
Sumera Saeed
Oct 04, 2023

What significance does the distinction between protostomes and deuterostomes have in evolutionary biology?

The distinction helps in understanding the evolutionary relationships and developmental processes among major animal groups.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023

Do all protostomes have the same embryonic development pattern?

While there are common patterns, there can be variations among protostomes.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 04, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.
Edited by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.

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