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Animal development is classified as conditional or autonomous based on whether cell fates are specified through inductive signals or maternal determinants, respectively. Yet how these two major developmental modes evolved remains unclear. During spiral cleavage—a stereotypic embryogenesis ancestral to 15 invertebrate groups, including molluscs and annelids—most lineages specify cell fates conditionally, while some define the primary axial fates autonomously. To identify the mechanisms drivingdoi:10.21203/rs.3.rs-793154/v1 fatcat:3fuffsnx3ngvtjdu56glr2tppq