Ben S Ewen-Campen

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Most evolutionary developmental biology ("evo-devo") studies of emerging model organisms focus on small numbers of candidate genes cloned individually using degenerate PCR. However, newly available sequencing technologies such as 454 pyrosequencing have recently begun to allow for massive gene discovery in animals without sequenced genomes. Within insects,(More)
Germ cells occupy a unique position in animal reproduction, development, and evolution. In sexually reproducing animals, only they can produce gametes and contribute genetically to subsequent generations. Nonetheless, germ line specification during embryogenesis is conceptually the same as the specification of any somatic cell type: germ cells must activate(More)
Arthropods and vertebrates display a segmental body organisation along all or part of the anterior-posterior axis. Whether this reflects a shared, ancestral developmental genetic mechanism for segmentation is uncertain. In vertebrates, segments are formed sequentially by a segmentation 'clock' of oscillating gene expression involving Notch pathway(More)
Arthropods are the most diverse animal phylum, but their genomic resources are relatively few. While the genome of the branchiopod Daphnia pulex is now available, no other large-scale crustacean genomic resources are available for comparison. In particular, genomic resources are lacking for the most tractable laboratory model of crustacean development, the(More)
BACKGROUND Primordial germ cell (PGC) specification is a universal process across animals, but the molecular mechanisms specifying PGCs are remarkably diverse. In Drosophila, PGCs are specified by maternally provided, asymmetrically localized cytoplasmic factors (germ plasm). In contrast, historical literature on most other arthropods reports that PGCs(More)
Most genomic resources available for insects represent the Holometabola, which are insects that undergo complete metamorphosis like beetles and flies. In contrast, the Hemimetabola (direct developing insects), representing the basal branches of the insect tree, have very few genomic resources. We have therefore created a large and publicly available(More)
oskar is the only gene in the animal kingdom necessary and sufficient for specifying functional germ cells. However, oskar has only been identified in holometabolous ("higher") insects that specify their germline using specialized cytoplasm called germ plasm. Here we show that oskar evolved before the divergence of higher insects and provide evidence that(More)
Primordial germ cell (PGC) formation in holometabolous insects like Drosophila melanogaster relies on maternally synthesised germ cell determinants that are asymmetrically localised to the oocyte posterior cortex. Embryonic nuclei that inherit this "germ plasm" acquire PGC fate. In contrast, historical studies of basally branching insects (Hemimetabola)(More)
Several programmable transcription factors exist based on the versatile Cas9 protein, yet their relative potency and effectiveness across various cell types and species remain unexplored. Here, we compare Cas9 activator systems and examine their ability to induce robust gene expression in several human, mouse, and fly cell lines. We also explore the(More)
Two modes of germ cell formation are known in animals. Specification through maternally inherited germ plasm occurs in many well-characterized model organisms, but most animals lack germ plasm by morphological and functional criteria. The only known alternative mechanism is induction, experimentally described only in mice, which specify germ cells through(More)