Polychaete development and genome evolution

Adult Spirobranchus lamarcki removed from habitation tube.

It is now clear that polychaetes can provide us with a model system that is much less derived from the ancestral bilaterian condition than are more traditional model systems within the protostomes, such as flies and nematodes. The keelworm, Spirobranchus (formerly Pomatoceros), is a tube-dwelling, intertidal polychaete that is widespread around the British Isles and is readily accessible for molecular and embryological work.

We are studying the embryogenesis of this annelid for comparative purposes and are beginning to investigate the organisation and expression of its developmental genes. The nereid, Platynereis dumerilii, provides a second polychaete for comparison, to enable a more robust reconstruction of polychaete evo-devo and genomics for comparisons to other phyla.

  • Hui, J.H.L., McDougall, C., Monteiro, A.S., Holland, P.W.H., Arendt, D., Balavoine, G. and Ferrier, D.E.K. Extensive chordate and annelid macrosynteny reveals ancestral homeobox gene organization. Molecular Biology and Evolution (2012) 29, 157-165.
  • Ferrier, D.E.K. Evolutionary crossroads in developmental biology: annelids. Development (2012) 139, 2643-2653.
  • McDougall, C., Korchagina, N., Tobin, J.L. and Ferrier, D.E.K. Annelid Distal-less/Dlx duplications reveal varied post-duplication fates. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2011) 11:241.
  • Torres, M.L., Antkowiak, M., Cizmarova, H., Ferrier, D.E.K., Dholakia, K. & Gunn-Moore, F.J. Integrated holographic system for all-optical manipulation of developing embryos. Biomedical Optics Express (2011), 2(6), 1564-1575.
  • Hui, J.H.L., Raible, F., Korchagina, N., Dray, N., Samain, S., Magdelenat, G., Jubin, C., Segurens, B., Balavoine, G., Arendt, D. and Ferrier, D.E.K. Features of the ancestral bilaterian inferred from Platynereis dumerilii ParaHox genes. BMC Biology (2009) 7:43
  • Takahashi, T., McDougall, C., Troschianko, J., Chen, W-C., Nagarajan, A.J., Shimeld, S.M. and Ferrier, D.E.K. An EST screen from the annelid Pomatoceros lamarckii reveals patterns of gene loss and gain in animals. BMC Evolutionary Biology (2009) 9:240.
  • McDougall, C., Hui, J.H.L., Monteiro, A., Takahashi, T. and Ferrier, D.E.K. Annelids in evolutionary developmental biology and comparative genomics. Parasite (2008) 15, 321-328.
  • McDougall, C., Chen, W-C., Shimeld, S.M. and Ferrier, D.E.K. The development of the larval nervous system, musculature and ciliary bands of Pomatoceros lamarckii (Annelida): heterochrony in polychaetes. Frontiers in Zoology (2006) 3, 16.
  • Denes, A.S., Jékely, G., Steinmetz, P.R., Raible, F., Snyman, H., Klaus, S., Prud’homme, B., Ferrier, D.E.K., Balavoine, G. and Arendt, D. Mediolateral arrangement of neurogenic columns and of neuron types in the polychaete trunk central nervous system. Cell. (2007) 129, 277-288.
  • Raible, F., Tessmar-Raible, K., Osoegawa, K., Wincker, P., Jubin, C., Balavoine, G., Ferrier, D.E.K., Benes, V., de Jong, P., Weissenbach, J., Bork, P.  and Arendt. D. Vertebrate-type intron-rich genes in the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii.  Science (2005) 310, 1325-1326.