The synthesis of evolution, paleontology, genomics and development led to the new field of Evolution and Development (so called EvoDevo). The aim of EvoDevo is to approach basic evolutionary questions taking into account the embryological (developmental) data but with a wider, comparative perspective. Our program goes one step forward, by combining evo-devo analyses with functional genomics approaches. The goal is to study fundamental biological questions, such as the evolution of multicellularity, development, growth, metamorphosis and oogenesis.
Most evolutionary research has been restricted to model animal systems, some of which turned out to be rather derived taxa. Our program aims at exploring new horizons by creating new data from yet neglected taxa. Thus, to address our questions, we use both model (Drosophila melanogaster) and non-model species (cockroaches, like Blattella germanica, beetles, like Tribolium castaneum), and unicellular eukaryotes (Capsaspora owczarzaki and Creolimax fragrantissima). By further developing these new non-model species, we aim to generate data promising to provide new insights into these important evolutionary questions.
In the context of the IBE, this program follows a well differentiated approach since it combines both comparative data generation on a great number of taxa, and at the application of a number of different technical methodologies, such as cell and developmental biology and comparative genomics.