Dr Dave Ferrier

Reader in Biology and Deputy Director of the Scottish Oceans Institute

SOI 1.10b
tel. 01334 463480


Research Overview. We aim to understand how the diversity of form in the animal kingdom evolved. The focus of our research is the connection between the evolution of animal genome organisation and development, with a particular concentration on the homeobox-containing genes. The Hox gene cluster is established as a corner-stone of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, but much about the evolution of its organisation and mode of operation remains unknown. Also the Hox cluster is not unique as a homeobox gene cluster controlling animal development, further clusters being the ParaHox and NK clusters, all of which evolved within larger arrays of homeobox genes (the Mega-cluster, Giga-cluster and Super-Hox cluster). We utilize a variety of organisms in our research (including amphioxus, sea squirts, polychaetes and priapulids), chosen from key points in the phylogeny of the animals to enable reconstruction of the ancestral conditions at major nodes in the animal kingdom; the origin of bilaterians, protostomes, deuterostomes, chordates and vertebrates, as well as the origin of the entire animal kingdom. Knowledge of such ancestors is vital in understanding subsequent diversification.



Szabó, R & Ferrier, DEK 2018, 'Two more Posterior Hox genes and Hox cluster dispersal in echinoderms' BMC Evolutionary Biology, vol. 18, 203. DOI: 10.1186/s12862-018-1307-x
Hudson, C, Esposito, R, Palladino, A, Staiano, L, Ferrier, D, Faure, E, Lemaire, P, Yasuo, H & Spagnuolo, A 2018, 'Transcriptional regulation of the Ciona Gsx gene in the neural plate' Developmental Biology, vol. In press. DOI: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2018.12.013
Marletaz, F, Firbas, P, Maeso, I, Tena, J, Bogdanovic, O, Perry, M, Wyatt, C, de la Calle-Mustienes, E, Bertrand, S, Burguera, D, Acemel, R, van Heeringen, S, Naranjo, S, Herrera-Ubeda, C, Skvortsova, K, Jimenez-Gancedo, S, Aldea, D, Marquez, Y, Buono, L, Kozmikova, I, Permanyer, J, Louis, A, Albuixech-Crespo, B, Le Petillon, Y, Leon Florian, A, Subirana, L, Balwierz, PJ, Duckett, P, Farahani, E, Aury, JM, Mangenot, S, Wincker, P, Albalat, R, Benito-Gutierrez, E, Canestro, C, Castro, F, D'Aniello, S, Ferrier, DEK, Huang, S, Laudet, V, Marais, G, Pontarotti, P, Schubert, M, Seitz, H, Somorjai, IML, Takahashi, T, Mirabeau, O, Xu, A, Yu, J-K, Carninci, P, Martinez-Morales, J, Crollius, H, Kozmik, Z, Weirauch, M, Garcia-Fernandez, J, Lister, R, Lenhard, B, Holland, P, Escriva, H, Gomez-Skarmeta, JL & Irimia, M 2018, 'Amphioxus functional genomics and the origins of vertebrate gene regulation' Nature, vol. 564, no. 7734, pp. 64-70. DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0734-6
Ferrier, DEK 2018, 'Horizons in evolutionary genomics: an interview with David Ferrier' BMC Biology, vol. 16, 124. DOI: 10.1186/s12915-018-0587-3
Ferrier, DEK & Sogabe, S 2018, 'Genome biology: unconventional DNA repair in an extreme genome' Current Biology, vol. 28, no. 20, pp. R1208-R1210. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.09.004
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