skip to content

Department of Zoology

 
Subscribe to Evolution and Development Seminar Series feed
The Evolution and Development (evo devo) seminar series is continuing this year. Organized by PhD students and postdocs in the Department of Zoology, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience and Department of Genetics, the series covers all aspects of Evolutionary Developmental Biology and includes speakers who have had a significant impact on the field. It consists of relatively informal lunchtime talks, which take about 45-50 minutes, followed by 10-15 min of questions and discussion. We aim to highlight the common themes underpinning the diverse and multi-disciplinary research on organisms right across the tree of life. Topics include micro- and macroevolution, embryology, developmental genetics, palaeontology and computational biology. If you would like to arrange a meeting with a speaker on the day, please reach out to one of the organisers.
Updated: 18 min 16 sec ago

Wed 30 Nov 13:00: From rocks to RNA: Reconstructiong pathways in animal ontogeny and evolution

Wed, 23/11/2022 - 10:08
From rocks to RNA: Reconstructiong pathways in animal ontogeny and evolution

Comparative ontogenetic studies have long been used to infer evolutionary pathways and animal interrelationships and have resulted in a number of iconic hypotheses such as Haeckel’s biogenetic law or Hatschek’s trochozoan concept. This is because most metazoans often display so-called transient characters that are lost during subsequent development and hence are not recognizable in the adult. However, organisms constitute the sum of their characters displayed over their entire lifetime, and thus every character displayed during any stage of development belongs to an animal’s “body plan“, irrespective of whether the character itself is retained through adulthood or not. Accordingly, ontogenetic studies may provide an important window into the evolutionary past of animals, a quality they only share with findings revealed from the fossil record. With the rise of molecular biology, applications such as in situ hybridization, experimental genetics, as well as genomics, comparative transcriptomics, and single cell RNAseq, studies into morphogenesis can now be supplemented by fine-grained molecular data in order to reveal the underlying genetic mechanisms that govern animal ontogeny and evolution. The present talk aims at reconstructing the evolutionary history of one of the most diverse and species-rich animal phyla, Mollusca, by combining data from the fossil record, morphogenesis, and evodevo including transcriptomics, phylogenomics, and single cell RNA seq. I will also highlight how ancient molecular components and pathways have been integrated into the ontogeny of different metazoan taxa, and have thereby significantly contributed to the diversity of developmental modes and animal life forms on our planet.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 23 Nov 13:00: Origin and early evolution of vertebrates hybrid

Wed, 02/11/2022 - 10:47
Origin and early evolution of vertebrates

The question of which group of spineless relatives the ancestry of the vertebrates is to be found within has been a popular scientific parlour game since the formalization of evolutionary theory. Scope for controversy has narrowed dramatically with the availability of molecular data for phylogenetic analysis in genomic depth and taxonomic breadth, as well as the discovery and reinterpretation of key fossils that evidence the origin of the fundamental bodyplans of vertebrates. It now appears impossible to recover anything other than tunicates as the sibling lineage of the vertebrates and cyclostome monophyly. However, despite widespread perception to the contrary, the interrelationships of fossil invertebrate chordates, early vertebrates and their living relatives, remain poorly resolved or supported. This is of consequence since understanding of the relationship between phenotypic, developmental and genome evolution depends critically upon how knowledge of the timing and sequence of assembly of bodyplan characteristics preserved in the fossil record. Recent work, stimulated by annotation of a hagfish genome, has allowed us to constrain not only the timing and tempo of early vertebrate evolution, but also that of the whole genome duplication events that characterize this formative episode in our own evolutionary history. Integrating evidence from living and fossil vertebrates it is clear that not all such genomic events are imbued with the same evolutionary potential and we explore why the evolution of jawed vertebrates has been so different from their jawless and spineless kin.

hybrid

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 26 Oct 13:00: Genotype-phenotype maps: which way to slice the pie?

Thu, 20/10/2022 - 08:33
Genotype-phenotype maps: which way to slice the pie?

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 02 Nov 13:00: Reconstructing brain evolution, one cell at the time

Mon, 10/10/2022 - 14:15
Reconstructing brain evolution, one cell at the time

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 02 Nov 13:00: Evolution of forebrain cell types

Fri, 07/10/2022 - 08:14
Evolution of forebrain cell types

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 23 Nov 13:00: Origin and early evolution of vertebrates hybrid

Sat, 01/10/2022 - 07:46
Origin and early evolution of vertebrates

Abstract not available

hybrid

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 16 Nov 13:00: The evolution of regular patterning in plants and animals hybrid

Sat, 01/10/2022 - 07:46
The evolution of regular patterning in plants and animals

The genetic code of multicellular organisms is decoded into a phenotype through developmental processes. While both the plant lineage and animal lineage each arise from a single ancestor, millions of years of evolution have transformed the genetic code of these ancestors to generate the staggering diversity of form and function we observe today. I use a variety of computational evolutionary simulations to study how modern developmental mechanisms arise from ancient mechanisms. In these simulations, a population is tracked over thousands of generations of mutation and selection, meanwhile keeping a perfect “fossil record” of intermediate genetic solutions. This allows me to study how the presence of such ancient mechanisms and pathways shape the convergent or divergent evolution of developmental mechanisms in extant lineages, by rerunning the evolutionary tape multiple times. I will discuss two projects, one on plant evolution and one on animal evolution, to highlight how this works and what we can learn about similarities and differences in these two lineages.

hybrid

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 30 Nov 13:00: Title to be confirmed

Sat, 01/10/2022 - 07:42
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 09 Nov 13:00: Title to be confirmed hybrid

Sat, 01/10/2022 - 07:40
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

hybrid

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 12 Oct 13:00: How to reduce body size: dimorphic development of the bone-eating Osedax (Annelida)

Sat, 01/10/2022 - 07:37
How to reduce body size: dimorphic development of the bone-eating Osedax (Annelida)

Timing is crucial, especially during early development of animals. The theoretical evolutionary process termed progenesis is accepted as the prevailing evolutionary route to underdeveloped (paedomorphic) life forms with retained larval appearance, e.g., salamanders, most meiofaunal groups, and many dwarf males. Progenesis proposedly starts with an accelerated sexual maturation (compared to the ancestor) leading to an early and synchronous offset of somatic development (in the descendant). This evolutionary process is challenging to investigate since most microscopic metazoan lineages are old and lack close macroscopic relatives for comparison. However, the dimorphic bone devouring worms of Osedax (Siboglinidae, Annelida) have both macroscopic females and microscopic dwarf males; the latter potentially being an outcome of progenesis. The embryos of Osedax are genetically similar and sexual differentiation of the competent larvae seemingly depend on environmental cues. Whereas adequate bone substrate & exposure to bacterial symbionts seem to trigger metamorphosis into females, exposure to cospecific female hormones seem to trigger metamorphosis into dwarf males. The life cycle and development of Osedax therefore offer a unique experimental insight into the detailed morphogenesis and epigenetic regulation underlying their symbiotic relationship (in females) and progenesis (in males). Using traditional immunochemistry labelling and CLSM we have reconstructed distinct anatomical stages during the larval and juvenile development of Osedax japonicus to serve as a basis for interpretation of molecular expression patterns. We found striking similarities in the nervous system, musculature, ciliation and chaetae between late larval and adult male stages, which support male dwarfism to be the outcome of an early offset of somatic development (=progenesis). In our ongoing research we now seek to align and couple genetic expressions with anatomical changes during development in order to characterize genetic key players in Osedax development and life cycle.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 26 Oct 13:00: Title to be confirmed

Sat, 01/10/2022 - 07:36
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 02 Nov 13:00: Title to be confirmed

Sat, 01/10/2022 - 07:35
Title to be confirmed

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 16 Nov 13:00: The evolution of regular patterning in plants and animals

Thu, 29/09/2022 - 18:38
The evolution of regular patterning in plants and animals

The genetic code of multicellular organisms is decoded into a phenotype through developmental processes. While both the plant lineage and animal lineage each arise from a single ancestor, millions of years of evolution have transformed the genetic code of these ancestors to generate the staggering diversity of form and function we observe today. I use a variety of computational evolutionary simulations to study how modern developmental mechanisms arise from ancient mechanisms. In these simulations, a population is tracked over thousands of generations of mutation and selection, meanwhile keeping a perfect “fossil record” of intermediate genetic solutions. This allows me to study how the presence of such ancient mechanisms and pathways shape the convergent or divergent evolution of developmental mechanisms in extant lineages, by rerunning the evolutionary tape multiple times. I will discuss two projects, one on plant evolution and one on animal evolution, to highlight how this works and what we can learn about similarities and differences in these two lineages.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 23 Nov 13:00: Origin and early evolution of vertebrates

Thu, 15/09/2022 - 11:09
Origin and early evolution of vertebrates

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 23 Nov 13:00: Evolution of early vertebrates

Thu, 15/09/2022 - 11:08
Evolution of early vertebrates

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 12 Oct 13:00: How to reduce body size: dimorphic development of the bone-eating Osedax (Annelida)

Wed, 07/09/2022 - 11:11
How to reduce body size: dimorphic development of the bone-eating Osedax (Annelida)

Timing is crucial, especially during early development of animals. The theoretical evolutionary process termed progenesis is accepted as the prevailing evolutionary route to underdeveloped (paedomorphic) life forms with retained larval appearance, e.g., salamanders, most meiofaunal groups, and many dwarf males. Progenesis proposedly starts with an accelerated sexual maturation (compared to the ancestor) leading to an early and synchronous offset of somatic development (in the descendant). This evolutionary process is challenging to investigate since most microscopic metazoan lineages are old and lack close macroscopic relatives for comparison. However, the dimorphic bone devouring worms of Osedax (Siboglinidae, Annelida) have both macroscopic females and microscopic dwarf males; the latter potentially being an outcome of progenesis. The embryos of Osedax are genetically similar and sexual differentiation of the competent larvae seemingly depend on environmental cues. Whereas adequate bone substrate & exposure to bacterial symbionts seem to trigger metamorphosis into females, exposure to cospecific female hormones seem to trigger metamorphosis into dwarf males. The life cycle and development of Osedax therefore offer a unique experimental insight into the detailed morphogenesis and epigenetic regulation underlying their symbiotic relationship (in females) and progenesis (in males). Using traditional immunochemistry labelling and CLSM we have reconstructed distinct anatomical stages during the larval and juvenile development of Osedax japonicus to serve as a basis for interpretation of molecular expression patterns. We found striking similarities in the nervous system, musculature, ciliation and chaetae between late larval and adult male stages, which support male dwarfism to be the outcome of an early offset of somatic development (=progenesis). In our ongoing research we now seek to align and couple genetic expressions with anatomical changes during development in order to characterize genetic key players in Osedax development and life cycle.

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 16 Nov 13:00: Modelling emergence of multicellularity

Fri, 02/09/2022 - 14:48
Modelling emergence of multicellularity

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 12 Oct 13:00: EvoDevo of marine macro- and meiofauna invertebrates

Fri, 02/09/2022 - 14:45
EvoDevo of marine macro- and meiofauna invertebrates

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list

Wed 19 Oct 13:00: Evolution of early vertebrates

Fri, 02/09/2022 - 14:43
Evolution of early vertebrates

Abstract not available

Add to your calendar or Include in your list