Opendata, web and dolomites


Network Analysis of Musculoskeletal Evolution and Modularity during the Fin-to-Limb Transition

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "LIMB NETWORKS" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
city: LONDON
postcode: NW1 OTU

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Project website
 Total cost 251˙857 €
 EC max contribution 251˙857 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.3.2. (Nurturing excellence by means of cross-border and cross-sector mobility)
 Code Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2014
 Funding Scheme MSCA-IF-GF
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-08-15   to  2018-08-14


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    THE ROYAL VETERINARY COLLEGE UK (LONDON) coordinator 251˙857.00
2    howard university US (Washington) partner 0.00


 Project objective

The fin-to-limb transition was a major milestone in the history of life that shaped the morphology and remarkable biodiversity of land vertebrates. A central question in vertebrate evolution is how the various anatomical parts of limbs evolved semi-autonomously (modularity) while still growing and adapting in coordination (integration). The main goal of this project is to unravel (i) the evolutionary changes in modularity of the musculoskeletal system that occurred during the evolution from fins to limbs and (ii) how these newly acquired modular organizations facilitated the evolution of different morphologies for the forelimb and hindlimb. To this end, we will evaluate the modularity of limbs and the strength of topological integration among modules by using an innovative approach–anatomical network analysis–¬¬based on the topological relations that anatomical parts establish among them; these anatomical relations are embodied in network models and quantified globally using sophisticated algorithms from Graph Theory. We propose a multidisciplinary combination, for the first time, of (i) new data on fin/limb muscle anatomy in extant species, (ii) reconstruction of muscle attachments in extinct forms, and (iii) the use of innovative tools such as Anatomical Network Analysis to identify morphological modules and quantify their integration within a phylogenetic context. The results of this unique and transformative project have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of limb evolution during the fin-limb transition. The training in gross anatomy, imaging techniques, and reconstruction of muscles in fossils by the leading researchers involved in this project will foster the development of the candidate Fellow as an independent and innovative frontline researcher in theoretical, evolutionary, and comparative biology in the EU.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Diego Rasskin-Gutman, Borja Esteve-Altava
Concept of Burden in Evo-Devo
published pages: 1-11, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-33038-9_48-1
Evolutionary Developmental Biology 2019-06-12
2018 Borja Esteve-Altava, Diego Rasskin-Gutman
Anatomical network analysis in Evo-Devo
published pages: 1-19, ISSN: , DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-33038-9_57-1
Evolutionary Developmental Biology 2019-06-12
2017 Borja Esteve-Altava
Challenges in identifying and interpreting organizational modules in morphology
published pages: , ISSN: 0362-2525, DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20690
Journal of Morphology 2019-06-12
2018 Rui Diogo, Julia L. Molnar, Campbell Rolian, Borja Esteve-Altava
First anatomical network analysis of fore- and hindlimb musculoskeletal modularity in bonobos, common chimpanzees, and humans
published pages: , ISSN: 2045-2322, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-25262-6
Scientific Reports 8/1 2019-06-12
2016 Rui Diogo, Peter Johnston, Julia L. Molnar, Borja Esteve-Altava
Characteristic tetrapod musculoskeletal limb phenotype emerged more than 400 MYA in basal lobe-finned fishes
published pages: 37592, ISSN: 2045-2322, DOI: 10.1038/srep37592
Scientific Reports 6 2019-06-12
2016 Borja Esteve-Altava
In search of morphological modules: a systematic review
published pages: , ISSN: 1464-7931, DOI: 10.1111/brv.12284
Biological Reviews 2019-06-12
2018 Borja Esteve-Altava, Julia L. Molnar, Peter Johnston, John R. Hutchinson, Rui Diogo
Anatomical network analysis of the musculoskeletal system reveals integration loss and parcellation boost during the fins-to-limbs transition
published pages: 601-618, ISSN: 0014-3820, DOI: 10.1111/evo.13430
Evolution 72/3 2019-06-12
2018 Borja Esteve-Altava, Stephanie E Pierce, Julia L Molnar, Peter Johnston, Rui Diogo, John R Hutchinson
Evolutionary parallelisms of pectoral and pelvic network-anatomy from fins to limbs
published pages: , ISSN: , DOI: 10.1101/374504
bioRxiv 374504 2019-06-12

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