Animal Evolution: Genomes, Fossils, and Trees

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Maximilian J. Telford, D. Timothy J. Littlewood
OUP Oxford, Aug 13, 2009 - Science - 245 pages
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Animal life, now and over the past half billion years, is incredibly diverse. Describing and understanding the evolution of this diversity of body plans - from vertebrates such as humans and fish to the numerous invertebrate groups including sponges, insects, molluscs, and the many groups of worms - is a major goal of evolutionary biology. In this book, a group of leading researchers adopt a modern, integrated approach to describe how current molecular genetic techniques and disciplines as diverse as palaeontology, embryology, and genomics have been combined, resulting in a dramatic renaissance in the study of animal evolution. The last decade has seen growing interest in evolutionary biology fuelled by a wealth of data from molecular biology. Modern phylogenies integrating evidence from molecules, embryological data, and morphology of living and fossil taxa provide a wide consensus of the major branching patterns of the tree of life; moreover, the links between phenotype and genotype are increasingly well understood. This has resulted in a reliable tree of relationships that has been widely accepted and has spawned numerous new and exciting questions that require a reassessment of the origins and radiation of animal life. The focus of this volume is at the level of major animal groups, the morphological innovations that define them, and the mechanisms of change to their embryology that have resulted in their evolution. Current research themes and future prospects are highlighted including phylogeny reconstruction, comparative developmental biology, the value of different sources of data and the importance of fossils, homology assessment, character evolution, phylogeny of major groups of animals, and genome evolution. These topics are integrated in the light of a 'new animal phylogeny', to provide fresh insights into the patterns and processes of animal evolution. Animal Evolution provides a timely and comprehensive statement of progress in the field for academic researchers requiring an authoritative, balanced and up-to-date overview of the topic. It is also intended for both upper level undergraduate and graduate students taking courses in animal evolution, molecular phylogenetics, evo-devo, comparative genomics and associated disciplines.
 

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Contents

The Bilateria
41
Themes and perspectives
105
References
197

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About the author (2009)

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Max Telford completed his D.Phil at the University of Oxford in 1993. After a year working in Paris he spent 6 years as a research fellow at The Natural History Museum before taking up a Wellcome Trust Research Career Development Fellowship in Cambridge in 2000. He moved back to London in 2003 and is now Reader in Zoology in the Department of Biology, University College London. He has two principle related research interests; in metazoan molecular systematics, which provides the essential evolutionary framework for all comparative zoology and in comparative developmental (Evo-devo) studies principally in the arthropods.

Tim Littlewood completed his PhD at the University of the West Indies and received his DSc from the University of Manchester. He has worked at The Natural History Museum since 1991 where he worked as a Wellcome Senior Research Fellow (1996-2005) and is currently an Individual Merit Researcher in the Department of Zoology. His research programme includes a study of the evolution of parasitism in flatworms, comparative mitogenomics and the wider applications of phylogenetics amongst a variety of animal groups over a range of taxonomic levels.

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