Chordate Origins and Evolution

Chordate Origins and Evolution

The Molecular Evolutionary Road to Vertebrates

1st Edition - July 14, 2016

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  • Author: Noriyuki Satoh
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128030066
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128099346

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Chordate Origins and Evolution: The Molecular Evolutionary Road to Vertebrates focuses on echinoderms (starfish, sea urchins, and others), hemichordates (acorn worms, etc.), cephalochordates (lancelets), urochordates or tunicates (ascidians, larvaceans and others), and vertebrates. In general, evolution of these groups is discussed independently, on a larger scale: ambulacrarians (echi+hemi) and chordates (cephlo+uro+vert). Until now, discussion of these topics has been somewhat fragmented, and this work provides a unified presentation of the essential information. In the more than 150 years since Charles Darwin proposed the concept of the origin of species by means of natural selection, which has profoundly affected all fields of biology and medicine, the evolution of animals (metazoans) has been studied, discussed, and debated extensively. Following many decades of classical comparative morphology and embryology, the 1980s marked a turning point in studies of animal evolution, when molecular biological approaches, including molecular phylogeny (MP), molecular evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), and comparative genomics (CG), began to be employed. There are at least five key events in metazoan evolution, which include the origins of 1) diploblastic animals, such as cnidarians; 2) triploblastic animals or bilaterians; 3) protostomes and deuterostomes; 4) chordates, among deuterostomes; and 5) vertebrates, among chordates. The last two have received special attention in relation to evolution of human beings. During the past two decades, great advances have been made in this field, especially in regard to molecular and developmental mechanisms involved in the evolution of chordates. For example, the interpretation of phylogenetic relationships among deuterostomes has drastically changed. In addition, we have now obtained a large quantity of MP, evo-devo, and CG information on the origin and evolution of chordates.

Key Features

  • Covers the most significant advances in this field to give readers an understanding of the interesting biological issues involved
  • Provides a unified presentation of essential information regarding each phylum and an integrative understanding of molecular mechanisms involved in the origin and evolution of chordates
  • Discusses the evolutionary scenario of chordates based on two major characteristic features of animals—namely modes of feeding (energy sources) and reproduction—as the two main forces driving animal evolution and benefiting dialogue for future studies of animal evolution


Undergraduate, graduate, and Ph.D.-level students, postdocs, and researchers in the fields of general zoology, evolutionary biology, developmental biology, and comparative genomics and in courses in these disciplines; may attract nonscientists with a background in biology

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • Chapter 1. Deuterostomes and Chordates
      • 1.1. A Brief Background
      • 1.2. Deuterostomes and Chordates
      • 1.3. Deuterostome Phyla
      • 1.4. Conclusions
    • Chapter 2. Hypotheses on Chordate Origins
      • 2.1. The Annelid Theory
      • 2.2. The Auricularia Hypothesis
      • 2.3. The Calcichordate Hypothesis
      • 2.4. The Pedomorphosis Scenario: Was the Ancestor Sessile or Free-Living?
      • 2.5. The New Inversion Hypothesis
      • 2.6. The Enteropneust Hypothesis
      • 2.7. The Aboral-Dorsalization Hypothesis
      • 2.8. Conclusions
    • Chapter 3. Fossil Records
      • 3.1. The Cambrian and Ediacaran Periods
      • 3.2. Crown, Stem, and Total Groups
      • 3.3. Fossil Records of Invertebrate Deuterostomes
      • 3.4. Fossil Records of Vertebrates
      • 3.5. Conclusions
    • Chapter 4. Molecular Phylogeny
      • 4.1. Molecular Phylogeny of Metazoans
      • 4.2. Molecular Phylogeny of Deuterostome Taxa
      • 4.3. Relationships Within Each Deuterostome Phylum
      • 4.4. Xenacoelomorpha
      • 4.5. MicroRNAs
      • 4.6. Conclusions
    • Chapter 5. Comparative Genomics of Deuterostomes
      • 5.1. Genome Decoding
      • 5.2. Genomic Features of Five Representative Deuterostome Taxa
      • 5.3. Gene Families in Deuterostomes and the Ancestral Gene Set
      • 5.4. Exon-Intron Structures
      • 5.5. Synteny
      • 5.6. Conserved Noncoding Sequences
      • 5.7. Repetitive Elements
      • 5.8. Taxonomically Restricted Genes
      • 5.9. Conclusions
    • Chapter 6. The Origins of Chordates
      • 6.1. Evaluation of Hypotheses for Chordate Origins
      • 6.2. The Pharyngeal Gene Cluster and the Origin of Deuterostomes
      • 6.3. Hox and Chordate Evolution
      • 6.4. ParaHox Genes
      • 6.5. Conclusions
    • Chapter 7. The New Organizers Hypothesis for Chordate Origins
      • 7.1. Chordate Features
      • 7.2. The New Organizers Hypothesis of Chordate Origins
      • 7.3. Cephalochordate Embryogenesis: Primitive Chordate Body-Plan Formation
      • 7.4. Chordate Features and Molecular Developmental Mechanisms
      • 7.5. The Notochord: A Mesodermal Novelty
      • 7.6. Somites (Myotomes): A Mesodermal Novelty
      • 7.7. The Postanal Tail: A Mesodermal Novelty
      • 7.8. The Dorsal Central Nervous System: An Ectodermal Novelty
      • 7.9. Hatschek’s Pit: An Ectodermal Novelty
      • 7.10. The Endostyle: An Endodermal Novelty
      • 7.11. Conclusions
    • Chapter 8. The Dorsoventral-Axis Inversion Hypothesis: The Embryogenetic Basis for the Appearance of Chordates
      • 8.1. Spemann’s Organizer, the Nieuwkoop Center, and the Three-Signal Model
      • 8.2. Axial Patterning of Deuterostome Body Plans
      • 8.3. Interpretation of the Dorsoventral-Axis Inversion Hypothesis
      • 8.4. Conclusions
    • Chapter 9. The Enteropneust Hypothesis and Its Interpretation
      • 9.1. The Stomochord and Other Organs Proposed as Antecedents to the Notochord
      • 9.2. The Nervous System of Enteropneusts
      • 9.3. The Spemann’s Organizer-Like System in Hemichordates
      • 9.4. Interpretations of the Enteropneust Hypothesis
      • 9.5. Conclusions
    • Chapter 10. Chordate Evolution: An Extension of the New Organizers Hypothesis
      • 10.1. Evolution of Vertebrates
      • 10.2. Evolution of Urochordates
      • 10.3. Conclusion
    • Chapter 11. How Did Chordates Originate and Evolve?
      • 11.1. The Three-Phylum System of Chordates
      • 11.2. Mechanisms Involved in Origination of Deuterostome Novelties
      • 11.3. Horizontal Gene Transfer
      • 11.4. The Significance of Gene Duplication in Deuterostome Evolution
      • 11.5. Significance of Domain Shuffling in Chordate Evolution
      • 11.6. The Significance of Structural Genes in Metazoan Evolution
      • 11.7. The Phylotypic Stage
      • 11.8. Conclusions
    • Chapter 12. Summary and Perspective
      • 12.1. Summary
      • 12.2. Perspective
    • References
    • Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 220
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2016
  • Published: July 14, 2016
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780128030066
  • Paperback ISBN: 9780128099346

About the Author

Noriyuki Satoh

Noriyuki Satoh is a Professor of the Marine Genomics Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Graduate University, Okinawa, Japan. After obtaining a PhD at the University of Tokyo, he carried out research of developmental biology of tunicates at Kyoto University. Satoh and his colleagues have established Ciona intestinalis as a model organism of developmental biology, and he has also conducted research of developmental mechanisms involved in the origins and evolution of chordates. Dr. Satoh’s group has also disclosed molecular mechanisms of notochord formation, and he is one of the leaders of the genome decoding projects of marine invertebrates, including tunicates, cephalochordates, and hemichordates.

Affiliations and Expertise

Department of Zoology, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan

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  • Robert B. Wed Mar 14 2018

    Chordate Origins and Evolution

    A fascinating review and essential reading for anyone interested in the origin and early evolution of the chordates, in particular how their dorsoventral axis could become inverted as compared to all other Bilateria, while always being compatible with structural and functional viability. My only real quibble was with the quality of some of the figures as a consequence of too great a reduction from the originals.