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Animal evolution from a cell type perspective: multidisciplinary training in single-cell genomics, evo-devo and in science outreach

Objective

One of the first events in the evolution of multicellular animals was the differentiation of cells into distinct types with different roles. Starting from their most simple multicellular ancestors, the cells that compose animal bodies have become increasingly diverse; each cell type distinguished by the unique set of genes it expresses. This increase in diversity of cell types over evolutionary time is recapitulated in the process of development during which a single undifferentiated cell - the fertilised egg - divides and its progeny differentiate into the countless cell types of the adult body. Currently we do not even know how many distinct cell types animals posses, how new cell types arise in evolution, how many are in common between different animal groups and how many unique cell types have evolved in different lineages. Our aim in EvoCELL is to lay the foundation for a new branch of evo-devo focussing on cell types. We will study these fundamental questions in animal evolution and development using a new technology - single cell sequencing - which we will for the first time employ outside of lab models to sample the great diversity of animal phyla. Europe is home to world-leading expertise in evo-devo and single-cell genomics, but research and training efforts are as yet uncoordinated and their potential for synergy underexplored. EvoCELL will harness and expand this European excellence by training a new generation of multidisciplinary scientists skilled in exploring the vast breadth of animal differentiation. We will jointly sample data from all major animal lineages, richly represented in the biodiversity of European waters, and develop new tools for comparative analyses, through which we will together pioneer three branches of cell evo-devo: evolution of stem cells; emergence of animal life cycles, and the stunning diversity of neural cell types.
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Coordinator

EUROPEAN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LABORATORY

Address

Meyerhofstrasse 1
69117 Heidelberg

Germany

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 581 505,12

Participants (9)

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STAZIONE ZOOLOGICA ANTON DOHRN

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 344 081,76

UNIVERSITETET I BERGEN

Norway

EU Contribution

€ 357 844,05

CENTRE NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE SCIENTIFIQUE CNRS

France

EU Contribution

€ 679 095,30

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 364 383,84

THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 364 383,84

RUPRECHT-KARLS-UNIVERSITAET HEIDELBERG

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 249 216,48

UPPSALA UNIVERSITET

Sweden

EU Contribution

€ 263 659,32

MUSEUM FUR NATURKUNDE - LEIBNIZ-INSTITUT FUR EVOLUTIONS- UND BIODIVERSITATSFORSCHUNG AN DER HUMBOLDT-UNIVERSITAT ZU BERLIN

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 332 288,64

GENOMIX4LIFE SRL

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 258 061,32

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 766053

Status

Ongoing project

  • Start date

    1 January 2018

  • End date

    31 December 2021

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 3 794 519,67

  • EU contribution

    € 3 794 519,67

Coordinated by:

EUROPEAN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY LABORATORY

Germany