Profile

Dr Dave Ferrier:
Reader in Biology and Deputy Director of the Scottish Oceans Institute



We aim to understand how the diversity of form in the animal kingdom evolved. The focus of our research is the connection between the evolution of animal genome organisation and development, with a particular concentration on the homeobox-containing genes. The Hox gene cluster is established as a corner-stone of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, but much about the evolution of its organisation and mode of operation remains unknown. Also the Hox cluster is not unique as a homeobox gene cluster controlling animal development, further clusters being the ParaHox and NK clusters, all of which evolved within larger arrays of homeobox genes (the Mega-cluster and Super-Hox cluster). We utilize a variety of organisms in our research (including amphioxus, sea squirts, polychaetes and priapulids), chosen from key points in the phylogeny of the animals to enable reconstruction of the ancestral conditions at major nodes in the animal kingdom; the origin of bilaterians, protostomes, deuterostomes, chordates and vertebrates. 

 



Research Overview. We aim to understand how the diversity of form in the animal kingdom evolved. The focus of our research is the connection between the evolution of animal genome organisation and development, with a particular concentration on the homeobox-containing genes. The Hox gene cluster is established as a corner-stone of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, but much about the evolution of its organisation and mode of operation remains unknown. Also the Hox cluster is not unique as a homeobox gene cluster controlling animal development, further clusters being the ParaHox and NK clusters, all of which evolved within larger arrays of homeobox genes (the Mega-cluster, Giga-cluster and Super-Hox cluster). We utilize a variety of organisms in our research (including amphioxus, sea squirts, polychaetes and priapulids), chosen from key points in the phylogeny of the animals to enable reconstruction of the ancestral conditions at major nodes in the animal kingdom; the origin of bilaterians, protostomes, deuterostomes, chordates and vertebrates, as well as the origin of the entire animal kingdom. Knowledge of such ancestors is vital in understanding subsequent diversification.

source: symbiosis


Recent Publications:

5 (of 80 published available) for dekf (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details

Space and time in Hox/ParaHox gene cluster evolution. David Ellard Keith Ferrier
2019 pp.245-258
A revised spiralian homeobox gene classification incorporating new polychaete transcriptomes reveals a diverse TALE class and a divergent Hox gene Ildiko Maureen Lara Somorjai, David Ellard Keith Ferrier
Genome Biology and Evolution 2018 vol.10 pp.2151–2167
Amphioxus SYCP1 David Ellard Keith Ferrier
Development Genes and Evolution 2018 vol.228 pp.13-30
Amphioxus functional genomics and the origins of vertebrate gene regulation Ferdinand Marletaz, Panos Firbas, Ignacio Maeso, Juan Tena, Ozren Bogdanovic, Malcolm Perry, Chris Wyatt, Elisa de la Calle-Mustienes, Stephanie Bertrand, Demian Burguera, Rafael Acemel, Simon van Heeringen, Silvia Naranjo, Carlos Herrera-Ubeda, Ksenia Skvortsova, Sandra Jimenez-Gancedo, Daniel Aldea, Yamile Marquez, Lorena Buono, Iryna Kozmikova, Jon Permanyer, Alexandra Louis, Beatriz Albuixech-Crespo, Yann Le Petillon, Anthony Leon Florian, Lucie Subirana, Piotr J. Balwierz, Paul Duckett, Ensieh Farahani, Jean Marc Aury, Sophie Mangenot, Patrick Wincker, Ricard Albalat, Elia Benito-Gutierrez, Cristian Canestro, Filipe Castro, Salvatore D'Aniello, David Ellard Keith Ferrier, Shengfeng Huang, Vincent Laudet, Gabriel Marais, Pierre Pontarotti, Michael Schubert, Herve Seitz, Ildiko Maureen Lara Somorjai, Tokiharu Takahashi, Olivier Mirabeau, Anlong Xu, Jr-Kai Yu, Piero Carninci, Juan Martinez-Morales, Hugues Crollius, Zbynek Kozmik, Matt Weirauch, Jordi Garcia-Fernandez, Ryan Lister, Boris Lenhard, Peter Holland, Hector Escriva, Jose Luis Gomez-Skarmeta, Manuel Irimia
Nature 2018 vol.564 pp.64-70
Genes for de novo biosynthesis of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are widespread in animals Naoki Kabeya, Miguel Fonseca, David Ellard Keith Ferrier, Juan Navarro, Line Bay, David Francis, Douglas Tocher, Filipe Castro, Oscar Monroig
Science Advances 2018 vol.4