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Evolutionary crossroads in developmental biology: annelids
David E. K. Ferrier


Annelids (the segmented worms) have a long history in studies of animal developmental biology, particularly with regards to their cleavage patterns during early development and their neurobiology. With the relatively recent reorganisation of the phylogeny of the animal kingdom, and the distinction of the super-phyla Ecdysozoa and Lophotrochozoa, an extra stimulus for studying this phylum has arisen. As one of the major phyla within Lophotrochozoa, Annelida are playing an important role in deducing the developmental biology of the last common ancestor of the protostomes and deuterostomes, an animal from which >98% of all described animal species evolved.


  • Funding

    Work in the author's laboratory has been funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the Royal Society and the School of Biology, University of St Andrews.

  • Competing interests statement

    The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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