Project Info

Deep Metazoan Phylogeny: Diploblastic Animals

At the base of metazoan evolution well defined phyla are found, which include Placozoa, Cnidaria, Porifera, and Ctenophora. Phylogenetic relationships between these diploblast phyla, class-level relationships within phyla, and the evolutionary origin from Protozoa as well as the split off of higher (triploblastic) animals have been subject of controversial discussion for more than a century. We seek to generate and analyze a variety of molecular markers to resolve deep phylogenetic relationships in diploblastic animals, i.e. in basal metazoans. Porifera will likely be excluded, since these data are supposed to be generated by another group. Representatives from all classes and orders of Placozoa, Cnidaria, and Ctenophora and at least 16 DNA sequence markers will be analyzed. In addition, 16S molecule morphology will be compared and ESTs will be utilized to identify new phylogenetically informative DNA sequence markers. Knowledge of the phylogeny and evolution of the diploblast phyla is critical to reconstructing the origin and diversification of animal life. This study is meant to provide the root for the backbone topology of the metazoan tree of life generated by the DFG priority program ???Deep Metazoan Phylogeny???.


Prof Dr. Bernd Schierwater, Tieraerztliche Hochschule, Hannover