Help Privacy Policy Disclaimer
  Advanced SearchBrowse




Meeting Abstract

From Caenorhabditis and Pristonchus to Real Nematodes: The Challenges for Modern Biology


Sommer,  RJ       
Department Integrative Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Max Planck Society;

External Resource
No external resources are shared
Fulltext (restricted access)
There are currently no full texts shared for your IP range.
Fulltext (public)
There are no public fulltexts stored in PuRe
Supplementary Material (public)
There is no public supplementary material available

Sommer, R. (2019). From Caenorhabditis and Pristonchus to Real Nematodes: The Challenges for Modern Biology. Journal of Nematology, 51, 39.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000E-7DFE-9
Nematology is divided into an applied branch with phylogenetically unrelated parasites and some cherry-picked free-living species that can easily be propagated in the laboratory, becoming important models for various aspects of the modern life sciences. Caenorhabditis elegans has championed this process with several discoveries and methodological developments resulting in three Nobel prizes, thereby giving great hope to applied nematology. But where do we stand today and what are the biggest challenges for a modern biology in applied nematology? I will argue that theoretical and experimental studies in evolutionary ecology and comparative genomics, although originally unrelated, point towards the rapidly evolving genome as the largest challenge for applied biology. First, studies in various systems have re- cently revealed that ecologically relevant traits evolve most rapidly. And parasitism is an ecological trait. Second, comparative genomics in several nematode taxa, some of which include deep taxon sampling of extremely closely related species, have indicated that genomes evolve much more rapidly than previously assumed. This results not only in frequent gene duplication events, but also involves the emergence of novel genes including so-called de novo genes. Third, experimental studies in nematodes and insects alike show that the formation of novel morphological and behavioral traits often involve such young genes. I will provide case studies from our own work on self-recognition and comparative genomics in Pristionchus nematodes to highlight the importance of novel genes for ecologically relevant traits. I will argue that applied nematology will have to seriously consider the non-conserved parts of the genome to properly understand parasitism.