Allen Institute Article: Comb jellies gives scientists hints of our nervous system’s past
Published: Monday, September 4, 2023
"Mucus always messes everything up." Allen Distinguished Investigator Dr. Joseph Ryan is making waves for his research on the biology of an extremely difficult creature to study - comb jellies.
Comb jellies, or ctenophores, are unique among animals, having been the first group of animals to branch off from the rest of animals.
This evolutionary uniqueness makes them ideal for studying the evolution of neural development and neural pathways. While ctenophores don’t have what we would think of as a brain, they do have nerve cells that are connected together throughout their bodies in a web-like “neural net.” Understanding the nervous systems of these dazzling creatures will give scientists clues about the vast range of possible nervous systems in evolution and perhaps even about how our own brains evolved.
Read the full article on the Allen Institute Web site:
Comb jellies gives scientists hints of our nervous system’s past
By Haylee Jarrett / Allen Institute
Image: Fragile ctenophores float in seawater