Research Topics

Genomes and Genes


Sea Urchin Developmental Biology Conference XIV


Principal Investigator: D R McClay
Abstract: The 14th meeting of the Sea urchin cell and developmental biology research community and of researchers working on Urochordates, Hemichordates, and Cephalochordates will be held on May 1-5,2002 at Woods Hole Mass. This meeting is the most important gathering of researchers interested in the cell, molecular, developmental and evolutionary biology of non-vertebrate deuterostomes. The 14th meeting has special importance because of three genome projects being conducted (two on tunicates and one on sea urchins). Workshops, seminars, and informal discussions will be of immense importance for the coordination and collaborations associated with those projects. A vast expansion of interest in this field has been catalyzed by an explosion of identified genes of importance to cell biology, development and evolution. The sea urchin embryo and tunicate embryo were adapted for study as model organisms more than a century ago. These embryos offer many advantages for experimental manipulation and have remained as important tools for understanding cellular, developmental and evolutionary mechanisms. The explosion of available genes has infused these systems with enormous new power for determination of function. Until recently other model systems that include amphioxis and acorn worms (a hemichordate) have been quite peripheral and used only for comparative systematic studies. Recent efforts have given new impetus to adapt these organisms for experimental approaches as well. As a result there is great excitement in the community as mechanisms of deuterostome evolution and development are uncovered. The meeting brings together exiperimentalists to share their findings at the molecular, cellular, and genomic level. The meeting includes 8 plenary sessions with a total of 44 speakers, plus 6 concurrent sessions and two workshops with 46 speakers. Poster sessions and discussions over meals add to the highly interactive atmosphere. The meeting will include about 200 people. Invitees will include all those interested in cell, development, and evolutionary mechanism in sea urchins, tunicates, hemichordates and cephalochordates. Sessions will cover fertilization, molecular specification, axial organization, gastrulation and morphogenesis, cellular mechanisms that activate development, genomics, and evolutionary mechanisms that impact development. The concurrent sessions offer valuable opportunities for graduate students and postdocs to gain experience speaking at an international meeting, and the workshops introduce new approaches in these embryos.
Funding Period: 2002-06-19 - 2003-06-18
more information: NIH RePORT