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A clear picture of animal relationships is a prerequisite to understand how the morphological and ecological diversity of animals evolved over time. Among others, the placement of the acoelomorph flatworms, Acoela and Nemertodermatida, has fundamental implications for the origin and evolution of various animal organ systems. Their position, however, has(More)
Molecular phylogenetic analyses have produced a plethora of controversial hypotheses regarding the patterns of diversification of non-bilaterian animals. To unravel the causes for the patterns of extreme inconsistencies at the base of the metazoan tree of life, we constructed a novel supermatrix containing 122 genes, enriched with non-bilaterian taxa.(More)
Despite expanding data sets and advances in phylogenomic methods, deep-level metazoan relationships remain highly controversial. Recent phylogenomic analyses depart from classical concepts in recovering ctenophores as the earliest branching metazoan taxon and propose a sister-group relationship between sponges and cnidarians (e.g., Dunn CW, Hejnol A, Matus(More)
Biomineralization is the process by which living organisms or organic matrices produced by them initiate and structure deposition of inorganic polymers/minerals. Deep-sea polymetallic nodules and crusts have recently been recognized as biominerals that are formed around bio-seeds; these deposits are of economic value. A detailed understanding of their(More)
Sponges (Porifera) are among the simplest living and the earliest branching metazoans. They hold a pivotal role for studying genome evolution of the entire metazoan branch, both as an outgroup to Eumetazoa and as the closest branching phylum to the common ancestor of all multicellular animals (Urmetazoa). In order to assess the transcription inventory of(More)
The enzymatic-silicatein mediated formation of the skeletal elements, the spicules of siliceous sponges starts intracellularly and is completed extracellularly. With Suberites domuncula we show that the axial growth of the spicules proceeds in three phases: (I) formation of an axial canal; (II) evagination of a cell process into the axial canal, and (III)(More)
During evolution and with the emergence of multicellular animals, the need arose to ward off foreign organisms that threaten the integrity of the animal body. Among many different receptors that participate in the recognition of microbial invaders, toll-like receptors (TLRs) play an essential role in mediating the innate immune response. After binding(More)
The progress in molecular and cell biology has enabled a rational exploitation of the natural resources of the secondary metabolites and biomaterials from sponges (phylum Porifera). It could be established that these natural substances are superior for biomedical application to those obtained by the traditional combinatorial chemical approach. It is now(More)
Calcium-based matrices serve predominantly as inorganic, hard skeletal systems in Metazoa from calcareous sponges [phylum Porifera; class Calcarea] to proto- and deuterostomian multicellular animals. The calcareous sponges form their skeletal elements, the spicules, from amorphous calcium carbonate (ACC). Treatment of spicules from Sycon raphanus with(More)
While most forms of multicellular life have developed a calcium-based skeleton, a few specialized organisms complement their body plan with silica. However, of all recent animals, only sponges (phylum Porifera) are able to polymerize silica enzymatically mediated in order to generate massive siliceous skeletal elements (spicules) during a unique reaction,(More)