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Christoph Bleidorn – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • Convergent evolution of the ladder-like ventral nerve cord in Annelida
    Frontiers in zoology, 2018
    Co-Authors: Conrad Helm, Günter Purschke, Torsten H. Struck, Patrick Beckers, Thomas Bartolomaeus, Katrine Worsaae, Anne Weigert, Stephan Holger Drukewitz, Ioannis Kourtesis, Christoph Bleidorn

    Abstract:

    A median, segmented, annelid nerve cord has repeatedly been compared to the arthropod and vertebrate nerve cords and became the most used textbook representation of the annelid nervous system. Recent phylogenomic analyses, however, challenge the hypothesis that a subepidermal rope-ladder-like ventral nerve cord (VNC) composed of a paired serial chain of ganglia and somata-free connectives represents either a plesiomorphic or a typical condition in annelids. Using a comparative approach by combining phylogenomic analyses with morphological methods (immunohistochemistry and CLSM, histology and TEM), we compiled a comprehensive dataset to reconstruct the evolution of the annelid VNC. Our phylogenomic analyses generally support previous topologies. However, the so far hard-to-place Apistobranchidae and Psammodrilidae are now incorporated among the basally branching annelids with high support. Based on this topology we reconstruct an intraepidermal VNC as the ancestral state in Annelida. Thus, a subepidermal ladder-like nerve cord clearly represents a derived condition. Based on the presented data, a ladder-like appearance of the ventral nerve cord evolved repeatedly, and independently of the transition from an intraepidermal to a subepidermal cord during annelid evolution. Our investigations thereby propose an alternative set of neuroanatomical characteristics for the last common ancestor of Annelida or perhaps even Spiralia.

  • Breaking the ladder: Evolution of the ventral nerve cord in Annelida
    , 2018
    Co-Authors: Conrad Helm, Günter Purschke, Torsten H. Struck, Patrick Beckers, Thomas Bartolomaeus, Katrine Worsaae, Anne Weigert, Stephan Holger Drukewitz, Ioannis Kourtesis, Christoph Bleidorn

    Abstract:

    A median, segmented, annelid nerve cord has repeatedly been compared to the arthropod and vertebrate nerve cords and became the most used textbook representation of the annelid nervous system. Recent phylogenomic analyses, however, challenge the hypothesis that a subepidermal rope-ladder-like ventral nerve cord (VNC) composed of a paired serial chain of ganglia and somata-free connectives represents neither a plesiomorphic nor a typical condition in annelids. Using a comparative approach by combining phylogenomic analyses with morphological methods (immunohistochemistry and CLSM, histology and TEM), we compiled a comprehensive dataset to reconstruct the evolution of the annelid VNC. Our phylogenomic analyses generally support previous topologies. However, the so far hard-to-place Apistobranchidae and Psammodrilidae are now incorporated among the basally branching annelids with high support. Based on this topology we reconstruct an intraepidermal VNC as ancestral state in Annelida. Thus, a subepidermal ladder-like nerve cord clearly represents a derived condition. Based on the presented data, a ladder-like appearance of the ventral nerve cord evolved repeatedly, and independently of the transition from an intraepidermal to a subepidermal cord during annelid evolution. Our investigations thereby question a common origin of the bilaterian median ganglionated VNC and propose an alternative set of neuroanatomical characteristics of the last common ancestor of Annelida or perhaps even Spiralia.

  • Current status of annelid phylogeny
    Organisms Diversity & Evolution, 2016
    Co-Authors: Anne Weigert, Christoph Bleidorn

    Abstract:

    Annelida is an ecologically and morphologically diverse phylum within the Lophotrochozoa whose members occupy a wide range of environments and show diverse life styles. The phylogeny of this group comprising more than 17,000 species remained controversial for a long time. By using next-generation sequencing and phylogenomic analyses of huge data matrices, it was finally possible to reach a well-supported and resolved annelid backbone tree. Most annelid diversity is comprised in two reciprocal monophyletic groups, Sedentaria and Errantia, which are named after the predominant life style of their members. Errantia include Aciculata (Phyllodocida + Eunicida) and Protodriliformia, which is a taxon of interstitial polychaetes. Sedentaria comprise most of the polychaete families formerly classified as Canalipalpata or Scolecida, as well as the Clitellata. Six taxa branch as a basal grade outside of this major radiation: Oweniidae, Magelonidae, Chaetopteridae, Sipuncula, Amphinomida, and Lobatocerebrum . Oweniidae and Magelonidae form a monophyletic group which we name PalaeoAnnelida, which constitutes the sister taxon of the remaining annelids. The early splits of annelid phylogeny date back to the Cambrian. The new annelid phylogeny highlights the variability and lability of annelid body plans, and many instances of simplifications of body plan as adaptations to new life styles can be found. Therefore, annelids will be an appropriate model to understand major transitions in the evolution of Bilateria in general. Evolutionary developmental studies are one way to investigate macroevolutionary transition in annelids. We briefly summarize the state of developmental model organisms in Annelida and also propose new candidates on the background of the phylogeny.

Thomas Bartolomaeus – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • The central nervous system of Oweniidae (Annelida) and its implications for the structure of the ancestral annelid brain
    Frontiers in Zoology, 2019
    Co-Authors: Patrick Beckers, Günter Purschke, Conrad Helm, Katrine Worsaae, Pat Hutchings, Thomas Bartolomaeus

    Abstract:

    Background Recent phylogenomic analyses congruently reveal a basal clade which consists of Oweniidae and Mageloniidae as sister group to the remaining Annelida. These results indicate that the last common ancestor of Annelida was a tube-dwelling organism. They also challenge traditional evolutionary hypotheses of different organ systems, among them the nervous system. In textbooks the central nervous system is described as consisting of a ganglionic ventral nervous system and a dorsally located brain with different tracts that connect certain parts of the brain to each other. Only limited information on the fine structure, however, is available for Oweniidae, which constitute the sister group (possibly together with Magelonidae) to all remaining annelids. Results The brain of Oweniidae is ring- shaped and basiepidermal. Ganglia, higher brain centers or complex sensory organs do not exist; instead the central nervous system is medullary. Posterior to the brain the ventral medullary cord arises directly from the ventral region of the brain in Myriowenia sp. while in Owenia fusiformis two medullary cords arise perpendicular to the brain ring, extend caudally and fuse posterior. The central nervous system is composed of a central neuropil and surrounding somata of the neurons. According to ultrastructural and histological data only one type of neuron is present in the central nervous system. Conclusion The central nervous system of Oweniidae is the simplest in terms of enlargement of the dorsal part of the brain and neuron distribution found among Annelida. Our investigation suggests that neither ganglia nor commissures inside the brain neuropil or clusters of polymorphic neurons were present in the annelid stem species. These structures evolved later within Annelida, most likely in the stem lineage of Amphinomidae, Sipuncula and PleistoAnnelida. Palps were supposedly present in the last common ancestor of annelids and innervated by two nerves originating in the dorsal part of the brain. A broader comparison with species of each major spiralian clade shows the medullary nervous system to be a common feature and thus possibly representing the ancestral state of the spiralian nervous system. Moreover, ganglia and clusters of polymorphic neurons seemingly evolved independently in the compared taxa of Spiralia and Annelida.

  • The central nervous system of Oweniidae (Annelida) and its implications for the structure of the ancestral annelid brain
    Frontiers in zoology, 2019
    Co-Authors: Patrick Beckers, Conrad Helm, Katrine Worsaae, Pat Hutchings, Gunter Purschke, Thomas Bartolomaeus

    Abstract:

    Recent phylogenomic analyses congruently reveal a basal clade which consists of Oweniidae and Mageloniidae as sister group to the remaining Annelida. These results indicate that the last common ancestor of Annelida was a tube-dwelling organism. They also challenge traditional evolutionary hypotheses of different organ systems, among them the nervous system. In textbooks the central nervous system is described as consisting of a ganglionic ventral nervous system and a dorsally located brain with different tracts that connect certain parts of the brain to each other. Only limited information on the fine structure, however, is available for Oweniidae, which constitute the sister group (possibly together with Magelonidae) to all remaining annelids. The brain of Oweniidae is ring- shaped and basiepidermal. Ganglia, higher brain centers or complex sensory organs do not exist; instead the central nervous system is medullary. Posterior to the brain the ventral medullary cord arises directly from the ventral region of the brain in Myriowenia sp. while in Owenia fusiformis two medullary cords arise perpendicular to the brain ring, extend caudally and fuse posterior. The central nervous system is composed of a central neuropil and surrounding somata of the neurons. According to ultrastructural and histological data only one type of neuron is present in the central nervous system. The central nervous system of Oweniidae is the simplest in terms of enlargement of the dorsal part of the brain and neuron distribution found among Annelida. Our investigation suggests that neither ganglia nor commissures inside the brain neuropil or clusters of polymorphic neurons were present in the annelid stem species. These structures evolved later within Annelida, most likely in the stem lineage of Amphinomidae, Sipuncula and PleistoAnnelida. Palps were supposedly present in the last common ancestor of annelids and innervated by two nerves originating in the dorsal part of the brain. A broader comparison with species of each major spiralian clade shows the medullary nervous system to be a common feature and thus possibly representing the ancestral state of the spiralian nervous system. Moreover, ganglia and clusters of polymorphic neurons seemingly evolved independently in the compared taxa of Spiralia and Annelida.

  • Convergent evolution of the ladder-like ventral nerve cord in Annelida
    Frontiers in zoology, 2018
    Co-Authors: Conrad Helm, Günter Purschke, Torsten H. Struck, Patrick Beckers, Thomas Bartolomaeus, Katrine Worsaae, Anne Weigert, Stephan Holger Drukewitz, Ioannis Kourtesis, Christoph Bleidorn

    Abstract:

    A median, segmented, annelid nerve cord has repeatedly been compared to the arthropod and vertebrate nerve cords and became the most used textbook representation of the annelid nervous system. Recent phylogenomic analyses, however, challenge the hypothesis that a subepidermal rope-ladder-like ventral nerve cord (VNC) composed of a paired serial chain of ganglia and somata-free connectives represents either a plesiomorphic or a typical condition in annelids. Using a comparative approach by combining phylogenomic analyses with morphological methods (immunohistochemistry and CLSM, histology and TEM), we compiled a comprehensive dataset to reconstruct the evolution of the annelid VNC. Our phylogenomic analyses generally support previous topologies. However, the so far hard-to-place Apistobranchidae and Psammodrilidae are now incorporated among the basally branching annelids with high support. Based on this topology we reconstruct an intraepidermal VNC as the ancestral state in Annelida. Thus, a subepidermal ladder-like nerve cord clearly represents a derived condition. Based on the presented data, a ladder-like appearance of the ventral nerve cord evolved repeatedly, and independently of the transition from an intraepidermal to a subepidermal cord during annelid evolution. Our investigations thereby propose an alternative set of neuroanatomical characteristics for the last common ancestor of Annelida or perhaps even Spiralia.

Conrad Helm – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.

  • The central nervous system of Oweniidae (Annelida) and its implications for the structure of the ancestral annelid brain
    Frontiers in Zoology, 2019
    Co-Authors: Patrick Beckers, Günter Purschke, Conrad Helm, Katrine Worsaae, Pat Hutchings, Thomas Bartolomaeus

    Abstract:

    Background Recent phylogenomic analyses congruently reveal a basal clade which consists of Oweniidae and Mageloniidae as sister group to the remaining Annelida. These results indicate that the last common ancestor of Annelida was a tube-dwelling organism. They also challenge traditional evolutionary hypotheses of different organ systems, among them the nervous system. In textbooks the central nervous system is described as consisting of a ganglionic ventral nervous system and a dorsally located brain with different tracts that connect certain parts of the brain to each other. Only limited information on the fine structure, however, is available for Oweniidae, which constitute the sister group (possibly together with Magelonidae) to all remaining annelids. Results The brain of Oweniidae is ring- shaped and basiepidermal. Ganglia, higher brain centers or complex sensory organs do not exist; instead the central nervous system is medullary. Posterior to the brain the ventral medullary cord arises directly from the ventral region of the brain in Myriowenia sp. while in Owenia fusiformis two medullary cords arise perpendicular to the brain ring, extend caudally and fuse posterior. The central nervous system is composed of a central neuropil and surrounding somata of the neurons. According to ultrastructural and histological data only one type of neuron is present in the central nervous system. Conclusion The central nervous system of Oweniidae is the simplest in terms of enlargement of the dorsal part of the brain and neuron distribution found among Annelida. Our investigation suggests that neither ganglia nor commissures inside the brain neuropil or clusters of polymorphic neurons were present in the annelid stem species. These structures evolved later within Annelida, most likely in the stem lineage of Amphinomidae, Sipuncula and PleistoAnnelida. Palps were supposedly present in the last common ancestor of annelids and innervated by two nerves originating in the dorsal part of the brain. A broader comparison with species of each major spiralian clade shows the medullary nervous system to be a common feature and thus possibly representing the ancestral state of the spiralian nervous system. Moreover, ganglia and clusters of polymorphic neurons seemingly evolved independently in the compared taxa of Spiralia and Annelida.

  • The central nervous system of Oweniidae (Annelida) and its implications for the structure of the ancestral annelid brain
    Frontiers in zoology, 2019
    Co-Authors: Patrick Beckers, Conrad Helm, Katrine Worsaae, Pat Hutchings, Gunter Purschke, Thomas Bartolomaeus

    Abstract:

    Recent phylogenomic analyses congruently reveal a basal clade which consists of Oweniidae and Mageloniidae as sister group to the remaining Annelida. These results indicate that the last common ancestor of Annelida was a tube-dwelling organism. They also challenge traditional evolutionary hypotheses of different organ systems, among them the nervous system. In textbooks the central nervous system is described as consisting of a ganglionic ventral nervous system and a dorsally located brain with different tracts that connect certain parts of the brain to each other. Only limited information on the fine structure, however, is available for Oweniidae, which constitute the sister group (possibly together with Magelonidae) to all remaining annelids. The brain of Oweniidae is ring- shaped and basiepidermal. Ganglia, higher brain centers or complex sensory organs do not exist; instead the central nervous system is medullary. Posterior to the brain the ventral medullary cord arises directly from the ventral region of the brain in Myriowenia sp. while in Owenia fusiformis two medullary cords arise perpendicular to the brain ring, extend caudally and fuse posterior. The central nervous system is composed of a central neuropil and surrounding somata of the neurons. According to ultrastructural and histological data only one type of neuron is present in the central nervous system. The central nervous system of Oweniidae is the simplest in terms of enlargement of the dorsal part of the brain and neuron distribution found among Annelida. Our investigation suggests that neither ganglia nor commissures inside the brain neuropil or clusters of polymorphic neurons were present in the annelid stem species. These structures evolved later within Annelida, most likely in the stem lineage of Amphinomidae, Sipuncula and PleistoAnnelida. Palps were supposedly present in the last common ancestor of annelids and innervated by two nerves originating in the dorsal part of the brain. A broader comparison with species of each major spiralian clade shows the medullary nervous system to be a common feature and thus possibly representing the ancestral state of the spiralian nervous system. Moreover, ganglia and clusters of polymorphic neurons seemingly evolved independently in the compared taxa of Spiralia and Annelida.

  • Convergent evolution of the ladder-like ventral nerve cord in Annelida
    Frontiers in zoology, 2018
    Co-Authors: Conrad Helm, Günter Purschke, Torsten H. Struck, Patrick Beckers, Thomas Bartolomaeus, Katrine Worsaae, Anne Weigert, Stephan Holger Drukewitz, Ioannis Kourtesis, Christoph Bleidorn

    Abstract:

    A median, segmented, annelid nerve cord has repeatedly been compared to the arthropod and vertebrate nerve cords and became the most used textbook representation of the annelid nervous system. Recent phylogenomic analyses, however, challenge the hypothesis that a subepidermal rope-ladder-like ventral nerve cord (VNC) composed of a paired serial chain of ganglia and somata-free connectives represents either a plesiomorphic or a typical condition in annelids. Using a comparative approach by combining phylogenomic analyses with morphological methods (immunohistochemistry and CLSM, histology and TEM), we compiled a comprehensive dataset to reconstruct the evolution of the annelid VNC. Our phylogenomic analyses generally support previous topologies. However, the so far hard-to-place Apistobranchidae and Psammodrilidae are now incorporated among the basally branching annelids with high support. Based on this topology we reconstruct an intraepidermal VNC as the ancestral state in Annelida. Thus, a subepidermal ladder-like nerve cord clearly represents a derived condition. Based on the presented data, a ladder-like appearance of the ventral nerve cord evolved repeatedly, and independently of the transition from an intraepidermal to a subepidermal cord during annelid evolution. Our investigations thereby propose an alternative set of neuroanatomical characteristics for the last common ancestor of Annelida or perhaps even Spiralia.