Whitney Lab’s Leslie Babonis, Mark Martindale and Joseph Ryan Publish Paper in BioMed Central
Congratulations to Whitney Lab’s Leslie Babonis, postdoctoral research associate, Mark Martindale, Whitney Lab director and professor, and Joseph Ryan, assistant professor of biology, for publishing a paper in BioMed Central titled Do novel genes drive morphological novelty? An investigation of the nematosomes in the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis.
The evolution of novel genes is thought to be a critical component of morphological innovation but few studies have explicitly examined the contribution of novel genes to the evolution of novel tissues. Nematosomes, the free-floating cellular masses that circulate through the body cavity of the sea anemone Nematostella vectensis, are the defining apomorphy of the genus Nematostella and are a useful model for understanding the evolution of novel tissues. Although many hypotheses have been proposed, the function of nematosomes is unknown. To gain insight into their putative function and to test hypotheses about the role of lineage-specific genes in the evolution of novel structures, we have re-examined the cellular and molecular biology of nematosomes.