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The evolution of mesoderm and its differentiation into cell types and organ systems

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "EVOMESODERM" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: MUSEPLASSEN 1
city: BERGEN
postcode: 5020

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 Norway [NO]
 Project website
 Total cost 1˙999˙500 €
 EC max contribution 1˙999˙500 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2014-CoG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2015
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2015-06-01   to  2021-05-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITETET I BERGEN NO (BERGEN) coordinator 1˙999˙500.00


 Project objective

Mesoderm, the embryonic germ layer between ectoderm and endoderm, gives rise to major organs within the circulatory and excretory systems and to stabilizing tissues (muscles, bones, connective tissue). Although mesoderm is a key-innovation in evolutionary history, its origin and further diversification into the different organs and cell types of a broad range of animals has not been elucidated. Our knowledge of mesoderm development is mainly based on work performed in prominent model systems including vertebrates (fish, frog and mouse) and invertebrates that are distantly-related and considered to be highly derived (Drosophila and C. elegans). The project proposed herein aims to study mesoderm development in a variety of highly informative animal taxa and trace its differentiation into cell types and organs, with the ultimate aim of reconstructing the history of mesoderm during animal evolution. Our approach combines advanced bioinformatics, live-imaging and molecular methods, and will be carried out in nine representative species belonging to under-investigated animal groups. We will describe the morphological and molecular development of mesoderm in these species, and the differentiation of two important mesodermal cell types: nephridia and blood. Using this information we will be able to infer the embryology and mesodermal cell type composition of ancestors at six important nodes in the animal tree of life. We will also be able to comprehend when shifts in mesoderm development have occurred and how these shifts have remodeled the animal body plans. Further, our implementation of advanced methods in under-studied species will provide new model systems and a more comprehensive framework for further studies in evolutionary developmental biology as well as in other research fields.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2019 Carmen Andrikou, Yale J. Passamaneck, Chris J. Lowe, Mark Q. Martindale, Andreas Hejnol
Molecular patterning during the development of Phoronopsis harmeri reveals similarities to rhynchonelliform brachiopods
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-9139, DOI: 10.1186/s13227-019-0146-1
EvoDevo 10/1 2020-01-29
2019 Alex de Mendoza, William L. Hatleberg, Kevin Pang, Sven Leininger, Ozren Bogdanovic, Jahnvi Pflueger, Sam Buckberry, Ulrich Technau, Andreas Hejnol, Maja Adamska, Bernard M. Degnan, Sandie M. Degnan, Ryan Lister
Convergent evolution of a vertebrate-like methylome in a marine sponge
published pages: 1464-1473, ISSN: 2397-334X, DOI: 10.1038/s41559-019-0983-2
Nature Ecology & Evolution 3/10 2019-10-08
2019 Carmen Andrikou, Daniel Thiel, Juan A. Ruiz-Santiesteban, Andreas Hejnol
Active mode of excretion across digestive tissues predates the origin of excretory organs
published pages: e3000408, ISSN: 1545-7885, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.3000408
PLOS Biology 17/7 2019-08-29
2019 Ludwik GÄ…siorowski, Anlaug Furu, Andreas Hejnol
Morphology of the nervous system of monogonont rotifer Epiphanes senta with a focus on sexual dimorphism between feeding females and dwarf males
published pages: , ISSN: 1742-9994, DOI: 10.1186/s12983-019-0334-9
Frontiers in Zoology 16/1 2019-08-29
2019 Bastian Fromm, Juan Pablo Tosar, Felipe Aguilera, Marc R. Friedländer, Lutz Bachmann, Andreas Hejnol
Evolutionary Implications of the microRNA- and piRNA Complement of Lepidodermella squamata (Gastrotricha)
published pages: 19, ISSN: 2311-553X, DOI: 10.3390/ncrna5010019
Non-Coding RNA 5/1 2019-08-29
2018 Arnau Sebé-Pedrós, Elad Chomsky, Kevin Pang, David Lara-Astiaso, Federico Gaiti, Zohar Mukamel, Ido Amit, Andreas Hejnol, Bernard M. Degnan, Amos Tanay
Early metazoan cell type diversity and the evolution of multicellular gene regulation
published pages: 1176-1188, ISSN: 2397-334X, DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0575-6
Nature Ecology & Evolution 2/7 2019-06-07
2018 Daniel Thiel, Mirita Franz-Wachtel, Felipe Aguilera, Andreas Hejnol
Xenacoelomorph Neuropeptidomes Reveal a Major Expansion of Neuropeptide Systems during Early Bilaterian Evolution
published pages: 2528-2543, ISSN: 0737-4038, DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msy160
Molecular Biology and Evolution 35/10 2019-04-19
2019 Ludwik GÄ…siorowski, Andreas Hejnol
Hox gene expression in postmetamorphic juveniles of the brachiopod Terebratalia transversa
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-9139, DOI: 10.1186/s13227-018-0114-1
EvoDevo 10/1 2019-04-19
2017 Chiara Sinigaglia, Daniel Thiel, Andreas Hejnol, Evelyn Houliston, Lucas Leclère
A safer, urea-based in situ hybridization method improves detection of gene expression in diverse animal species
published pages: , ISSN: 0012-1606, DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.11.015
Developmental Biology 2019-06-07
2017 Jose M. Martin-Duran, Joseph F Ryan, Bruno Vellutini, Kevin Pang, Andreas Hejnol
Increased taxon sampling reveals thousands of hidden orthologs in flatworms
published pages: gr.216226.116, ISSN: 1088-9051, DOI: 10.1101/gr.216226.116
Genome Research 27: 1263-1272 2019-06-07
2018 Casey W. Dunn, Felipe Zapata, Catriona Munro, Stefan Siebert, Andreas Hejnol
Pairwise comparisons across species are problematic when analyzing functional genomic data
published pages: 201707515, ISSN: 0027-8424, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1707515115
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2019-06-07
2017 José M. Martín-Durán, Kevin Pang, Aina Børve, Henrike Semmler Lê, Anlaug Furu, Johanna Taylor Cannon, Ulf Jondelius, Andreas Hejnol
Convergent evolution of bilaterian nerve cords
published pages: , ISSN: 0028-0836, DOI: 10.1038/nature25030
Nature 2019-06-07
2015 José M. Martín-Durán, Bruno C. Vellutini, Andreas Hejnol
Evolution and development of the adelphophagic, intracapsular Schmidt’s larva of the nemertean Lineus ruber
published pages: , ISSN: 2041-9139, DOI: 10.1186/s13227-015-0023-5
EvoDevo 6/1 2019-06-07
2016 José M. Martín-Durán, Yale J. Passamaneck, Mark Q. Martindale, Andreas Hejnol
The developmental basis for the recurrent evolution of deuterostomy and protostomy
published pages: 5, ISSN: 2397-334X, DOI: 10.1038/s41559-016-0005
Nature Ecology & Evolution 1 2019-06-07
2017 Bruno C. Vellutini, José M. Martín-Durán, Andreas Hejnol
Cleavage modification did not alter blastomere fates during bryozoan evolution
published pages: 28, ISSN: 1741-7007, DOI: 10.1186/s12915-017-0371-9
BMC Biology 15/1 2019-06-07

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