Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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Animal Evolution

Dr. Detlev Arendt

Dr. Detlev Arendt
Dr. Detlev Arendt
Im Neuenheimer Feld 230
69120 Heidelberg
Fax +49 6221 54-5639
detlev.arendt AET

Evolution of the central nervous system in Bilateria


We are intrigued by one of the great remaining mysteries in animal evolution: how did our central nervous system (CNS) come into existence? What did it look like at first and how did it function? We are especially interested in the CNS of an extinct animal known as Urbilateria, the last common ancestor of humans, flies and most other ‘higher’ animals that live today, which lived some 600 million years ago in the ocean.

Our lab has chosen to investigate a new molecular animal model, the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii. As a ‘living fossil’,Platynereis represents an ideal connecting link between vertebrates and the fast evolving protostome models, Drosophila and Caenorhabditis. Genomic resources and molecular techniques have been generated that make it a model marine invertebrate for ocean biology and for organismal systems biology. As characteristic for the Platynereis life cycle with different stages exploring different ecological niches, environmental influences impact directly on the organismal state (eco-devo) or are sensed via the nervous system (organismal neurobiology) and are reflected by the variation on genome, transcriptome or any other level of the cellome.

Please also check our home page at EMBL 

/var/www/cos/ / Dr. Detlev Arendt _e