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Anthony De Tomaso (UCSB) research visit: stem cells, budding, and the evolution of coloniality in ascidians

Abstract

Prof. Anthony De Tomaso (UCSB) and his research team have contributed significantly for the understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of immunity and asexual development of the colonial ascidian model species, Botryllus schlosseri. His lab is solely responsible for generating some of the major breakthroughs in this species, including the characterization of genes involved in the immune system of ascidians: he was the first to characterize an all recognition locus for this species, studied in great detail germline progenitor stem cells of this species, and their contribution to stem cell or germline parasitism of chimeric colonies. Recently, his laboratory has developed several molecular markers that have allowed him to analyze cellular dynamics and developmental processes in great detail. Due to the vast experience of Prof De Tomaso using Botryllus schlosseri to address the above mentioned research lines, it becomes clear how a short visit to our laboratory will bring significant contributions to the ongoing project FAPESP JP/ANR 2015/50164-5. One of the main goals of this project is to characterize progenitor cell populations known to occur in B. schlosseri in closely related groups of ascidians, including a solitary clade. This evolutionary and developmental biology study will allow us to understand the evolution of budding and asexual reproduction in this group of ascidians. (AU)