Daniel Meulemans Medeiros Lab

CU Boulder


As single-celled zygotes, all animals start life looking much the same.  Through the process of development, these initially nondescript cells give rise to the millions of distinct animal species which populate our planet. The central question in the field of Evolutionary Developmental Biology is how natural selection has altered the process of development to yield the stunning diversity which surrounds us.  

In my lab, we are interested in understanding the evolution of our own subphylum, the vertebrates.   To do this, we study developmental gene expression, regulation, and function in three model organisms; lamprey, amphioxus, and zebrafish.  Lamprey, a jawless vertebrate, is the most basal vertebrate amenable to experimental manipulation at embryonic stages.  Amphioxus is the most basal extant chordate and is thought to closely resemble the invertebrate ancestor of the vertebrates.  Zebrafish, a teleost,  is one of the most experimentally tractable vertebrate model systems.  By comparing lamprey and amphioxus development with that of zebrafish, and other vertebrates like frog and salamander,  we aim to reconstruct the genetic and developmental changes underlying the earliest events in vertebrate evolution.



The Evolution of Vertebrate Development