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Evolution of Vertebrate Limb Proportion: Cooption, Convergence, and Complexity

CMCB Life Sciences Seminar

Date:07.10.2019, 16:00 - 17:00
Speaker: Prof. Kimberly Cooper, University of California, San Diego, Division of Biological Sciences, Section of Cell and Developmental
Location: CRTD, 2nd floor, seminar rooms 1 and 2
Host: Dr. Dunja Knapp (CRTD)

Decades of mouse genetics and chick embryology have identified genes and pathways that are necessary for vertebrate limb development, but loss-of function mutations in the mouse frequently cause proportionate dwarfism that doesn't represent the diverse skeletal proportions observed in nature. In an effort to tap into the naturally occurring genetic “selection experiment” that has been ongoing since the origin of the vertebrate limb, I developed the lesser Egyptian jerboa, Jaculus jaculus, as a new experimental system. The jerboa is closely related to the laboratory mouse, enabling direct comparison to an established model system with very similar genomic architecture and developmental staging, and yet extremely divergent in terms of its limb morphology. This desert-adapted bipedal rodent has extraordinarily long hindlimbs with three toes on its disproportionately large feet and normally proportioned forelimbs with five fingers.  My laboratory takes a hierarchical approach to understand  this evolutionary transformation at the level of tissue architecture and cell behaviors to associated genes and the cis-regulatory modules that allowed the hindlimb to evolve independent of the forelimb.

5 most important publications

Grunwald HA*, Gantz VM*, Poplawski G*, Xu XS, Bier E, Cooper KL^ (2019) Super-Mendelian inheritance mediated by CRISPR/Cas9 in the female mouse germline. Nature. 566(7742): 105-109.

Moore TY, Organ CL, Edwards SV, Biewener AA, Tabin CJ, Jenkins FA Jr, Cooper KL. (2015) Multiple phylogenetically distinct events shaped the evolution of limb skeletal morphologies associated with bipedalism in the jerboas. Current Biology. 25(21): 2785-2794.

Cooper KL*^, Sears KE*^, Uygur A*, Maier J, Baczkowski KS, Brosnahan M, Antczak D, Skidmore JA, Tabin CJ (2014) Patterning and post-patterning modes of evolutionary digit loss in mammals. Nature. 511(7507): 41-45.

Cooper KL*^, Oh S*, Sung Y, Dasari R, Kirschner MK, Tabin CJ (2013) Multiple phases of chondrocyte enlargement underlie differences in skeletal proportions. Nature. 495(7441): 375-378.

Cooper KL*, Hu J*, ten Berge D, Fernandez-Teran M, Ros M, Tabin CJ (2011) Initiation of proximal-distal patterning of the vertebrate limb by signals and growth. Science. 332(6033): 1083-1086.

Everybody is very welcome!

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