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Developmental systems: shaped by but also shaping evolution

We are interested in the interplay between the nature of developmental systems and evolution. How did evolution shape them? How do they shape evolution in return?

We are interested in the interplay between the nature of developmental systems and evolution. How did evolution shape them? How do they shape evolution in return?

Our favorite model, the molars of present-day rodents are the product of a long evolutionary history, fairly well known thanks to paleontological data. How did this evolutionary history shape the present-day developmental systems producing the first lower and upper molars of mouse, or other related rodents? In turn, how do these developmental systems influence more recent micro or macro-evolution of molars in mouse and relatives?

  • Vestigial buds in development and evolution of rodents molars

Mouse ancestors had premolars, and this is reflected in the developmental system of present-day mouse and mouse-related rodents, with the presence of a transient, vestigial, tooth germ in the developing molar row (Prochazka, Pantalacci et al. 2010). We studied how this vestigial tooth germ influences first molar development, and favored repeated molar elongation in mouse populations. We test our hypothesis by combining mathematical modeling, experimental approaches and comparative transcriptomics in different mouse strains (Sadier et al. Plos Biology 2019; Hayden et al. Elife 2020; see also the accompanying insight by C. Roseman). We pay special attention to the temporal dynamics of the developmental system with a quantitative and probabilistic treatment of series of fixed embryos.

People involved in the team: Luke Hayden (Past member)

Collaborations: Vincent Calvez, CNRS & Institut Camille Jordan, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1; Sabrina Renaud, LBBE, Université Lyon 1; Maria Hovorackova and Renata Peterkova, Institute of Experimental medecine, Czech Republic

  • Bucco-lingual development and evolution of rodent molars

Molars originated in early mammals, when already complex teeth evolved cusp arranged in a bucco-lingual direction, with buccal and lingual cusps. More recently, several rodent groups (mice and relatives, spiny mice and relatives, other independent fossil lineages) went a step further, adding a third cusp row on the lingual side of their upper molar. We are interested in understanding how bucco-lingual development originated in mammals and occurs nowadays in mouse and why and how the upper molar repeatedly evolves a third row of cusps (see also here). To this end, we combine 3D imaging, comparative transcriptomics and developmental genetics.

People involved in the team: Coraline Petit

Collaborations: Ronan Ledevin, Université Lyon 1;  Maria Hovorackova and Renata Peterkova, Institute of Experimental medecine, Czech Republic