About this Research Topic
The field of evolutionary developmental biology has made major contributions in characterising the developmental toolkit that builds animals, and identifying the evolutionary changes in genes that underlie differences in development and the diversification of animal phenotypes. This field has provided an important and broad comparative view of the regulation of animal development and evolution. Much of the focus in the last decade has been on genetics; from comparing the expression and function of toolkit genes between species, to genomics, RNA-Seq, and studying the genetic basis of evolutionary differences between species. While this focus has continued to yield important insights into the evolution of development, we need to know more about the effect of genetic regulation on cell behaviour during development, and how genetic changes alter cellular parameters to give rise to differences between species.
The establishment of new powerful technologies in genome editing and single cell analysis together with recent developments in bioimaging and modeling mean that the cells of a wide range of tissues and organisms can now be studied in unprecedented detail. Moreover, the potential of combining these approaches with genetics means that we are now on the cusp of a new wave of discovery that will allow us to bring together cell behavior and genetics to provide a more complete insight into developmental processes and their evolution.
Both genetics and genomics have reached the resolution of the basic unit in biology: the cell. Therefore this research topic will bring together primary data papers, perspectives and reviews to showcase the importance and potential of this new wave of evo devo focused on the cell from comparing the proliferation, movement and organization of cells to characterizing the expression profiles of individual cells during development at microevolutionary and macroevolutionary scales.
Keywords: Evolution and Development, Cell Biology, Genome Editing, Bioimaging, Single Cell Sequencing
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