Amphioxus functional genomics and the origins of vertebrate gene regulation paper got released online! This study was published in Nature! This work summarizes years of work and the collaboration of a several teams spread worldwide. The four leaders of this project are Spanish: Jose Luis Gomez-Skarmeta a PI from our unit, Nacho Maeso, a junior PI from the CABD, Hector Escriva from CNRS (France) and Manuel Irimia from CRG (Barcelona).
The major conclusion of the work is that the origin of the vertebrates results from gene duplication and the diversification of their regulatory elements. The amphioxus is not a vertebrate itself. It is a chordate, and it is used as a starting point to compare genomes of vertebrates and check for their innovations that allowed the formation of more complex structures. All the work depended on the thorough characterization of genome, epigenome and transcriptomics of the European amphioxus. This complex and laborious project could not be done without the collaboration of this team.
The image illustrates the amphioxus development and the different genomic analyses.
The full paper can be checked here.