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Integrative Biology of Marine Organisms
UMR 7232

Ascidians as model organisms for developmental studies

Our team has been created in spring 2012. We are interested in the cellular and molecular control of ascidian embryogenesis. Ascidians (or sea squirts) belong to the tunicates, and together with vertebrates and cephalochordates (amphioxus) constitute the chordates that share the same basic body plan characterized by a notochord and a dorsal hollow nerve cord. Given its morphological simplicity, its compact genome and powerful tools for molecular embryology and functional genomics, one ascidian species, Ciona intestinalis, has emerged as an attractive model system for reconstructing the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) controlling development.


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    • New publication (DEEVA group)

      The ascidians are surrounded by their tunic, a sort of exoskeleton made of extracellular material, cellulose in particular, secreted by the epidermis. In larvae, this tunic differentiates into fins that are essential for swimming.
      The DEEVA group has elucidated some molecular mechanisms that regulate this specific 3D morphogenesis of an extracellular matrix. The results are published in BMC Biology

    • Looking for a PhD?

      The DEEVA team proposes a PhD research project on the formation of cellulosic fins in ascidians. This project stems from a study that we have recently published. Fellowship to be obtained through competitive selection of the doctoral school Complexité du Vivant(ED515). Details of the project and application using the ADUM website. Deadline 7 june 2024. Contact: sebastien.darras at obs-banyuls.fr

    • New publication (DEEVA group)

      The genome of Clavelina lepadiformis. A collaboration between the DEEVA group and the bioinformatic service BSBII allowed to generate an annotated genome for a colonial ascidian that is very common on our shores, the light-bulb sea squirt Clavelina lepadiformis. This work has been funded through the AscidianDiversity project (Diversity of Biological Mechanisms 2020 call from CNRS Biologie) and the...

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