Marine animal evolutionary developmental biology—Advances through technology development
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEvolutionary Applications. 2022, 16 (2), 580-588. 10.1111/eva.13456
Evolutionary developmental biology, the interdisciplinary effort of illuminating the conserved similarities and differences during animal development across all phylogenetic clades, has gained renewed interest in the past decades. As technology (immunohistochemistry, next-generation sequencing, advanced imaging, and computational resources) has advanced, so has our ability of resolving fundamental hypotheses and overcoming the genotype–phenotype gap. This rapid progress, however, has also exposed gaps in the collective knowledge around the choice and representation of model organisms. It has become clear that evo-devo requires a comparative, large-scale approach including marine invertebrates to resolve some of the most urgent questions about the phylogenetic positioning and character traits of the last common ancestors. Many invertebrates at the base of the tree of life inhabit marine environments and have been used for some years due to their accessibility, husbandry, and morphology. Here, we briefly review the major concepts of evolutionary developmental biology and discuss the suitability of established model organisms to address current research questions, before focussing on the importance, application, and state-of-the-art of marine evo-devo. We highlight novel technical advances that progress evo-devo as a whole.