Departament de Genètica 


Jaume Baguñà
Cristian Cañestro
Jordi Garcia
Pere Martínez
Marta Riutort
Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo
Joan Antoni Vela


Research aims of the Evolution and Development group hinge upon two main areas: evo-devo (Evolution and Development) mechanisms, and the phylogenetic and phylogeographic reconstructions of animal evolution. First, we analyze two key morphological transitions in animal evolution: how bilateral organisms derived from radial symmetrical ones, and Vertebrate’s origin and radiation. We use two main animal models: acoel platyhelminthes and the prechordate amphioxus. Scores of developmental genes have been isolated and characterized, its expression patterns are currently studied and compared to those of its closest phylogenetic groups, the cnidarians and the chordates, and functional analyses are underway. Our final aim is to envisage the main genetic changes instrumental to explain these morphological transitions. Second, to get a robust phylogeny of the bilaterian metazoans, we follow multigenic and phylogenomic approaches. Moreover, a worldwide phylogeography of freshwater and landplanarians (Platyhelminthes) and a similar, but denser, one in the Mediterranean area, are underway.