Fylogenier, fossil, embryon och genomer: en sammanhängande bild av ryggradsdjurens tidiga evolution

Tidsperiod: 2015-01-01 till 2018-12-31

Projektledare: Per Ahlberg, Per Erik Ahlberg

Finansiär: Vetenskapsrådet

Bidragstyp: Projektbidrag

Budget: 4 000 000 SEK

Vertebrates are animals of enormous ecological and economic importance. Their body plan has radiated into an astonishing range of morphologies and lifestyles, including our own. This project aims to undertake the most thorough phylogenetic analysis of early fossil vertebrates attempted to date, and use the results from this analysis to examine the evolution of the vertebrate body plan from an integrated morphological, developmental and molecular perspective. In collaboration with project partners Shigeru Kuratani (developmental biologist: Kobe, Japan), Paul Tafforeau (synchrotron tomography expert: Grenoble, France) and Min Zhu (palaeontolgist: Beijing, China), we will carry out a large-scale and systematic reexamination of the early vertebrate fossil record, using synchrotron microtomography to describe internal anatomy and hard-tissue histology in 3D. The data will be used to generate a new phylogeny for early vertebrates, built on a backbone constraint of the ´known´ (from copious molecular data) interrelationships of extant groups. Data on morphological evolution derived from this phylogeny, together with genomic and developmental data from the extant groups, will be used to frame integrated evolutionary hypotheses about the transformation of the face and forebrain during the origin of jaws and the emergence of the vertebrate hard tissue repertoire.