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Animal evolution has always been at the core of biology, but even today many fundamental questions remain open. The field of animal 'evo-devo' is leveraging recent technical and conceptual advances in development, palaeontology, genomics and transcriptomics to propose radically different answers to traditional evolutionary controversies.
Old Questions and Young Approaches to Animal Evolution is divided into four parts, each of which approaches animal evolution from a different perspective. The first part (chapters 2 and 3) investigates how new sources of evidence have changed conventional views of animal origins, while the second (chapters 4–8) addresses the connection between embryogenesis and evolution, and the genesis of cellular, tissue and morphological diversity. The third part (chapters 9 and 10) investigates how big data in molecular biology is transforming our understanding of the mechanisms governing morphological change in animals. In closing, the fourth part (chapters 11–13) explores new theoretical and conceptual approaches to animal evolution.
Old Questions and Young Approaches to Animal Evolution offers a comprehensive and updated view of animal evolutionary biology that will serve both as a first step into this fascinating field for students and university educators, and as a review of complementary approaches for researchers.
José M. Martín-Durán is a European Research Council Starting Grant Fellow and Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. He obtained his PhD in Genetics from the University of Barcelona, where he studied the embryonic development of planarian flatworms. After pursuing postdoctoral research at the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology, University of Bergen, he moved to Queen Mary University of London to establish a laboratory that combines his interests in developmental biology, animal evolution, and marine biodiversity. His lab applies genomic, epigenetic, and more classical developmental approaches to study the natural diversity in early embryogenesis found in spiralian lineages.
Bruno C. Vellutini is an EMBO Fellow and postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics. He obtained his MSc in Zoology from the University of São Paulo, and his PhD in Molecular and Computational Biology from the University of Bergen, where he investigated the evolution of larval forms in marine invertebrates. His research focuses on understanding how changes in embryogenesis are connected to the evolution of animal morphology. Currently, he is combining genetic and live-imaging techniques to reveal the mechanisms that govern tissue morphogenesis in the fruit fly embryo.