This study presents a statistical test for modularity in the context of relative timing of developmental events. The test assesses whether sets of developmental events show special phylogenetic conservation of rank order. The test statistic is the correlation coefficient of developmental ranks of the N events of the hypothesized module across taxa. The null distribution is obtained by taking correlation coefficients for randomly sampled sets of N events. This test was applied to two datasets, including one where phylogenetic information was taken into account. The events of limb development in two frog species were found to behave as a module.
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Vol. 58 • No. 8