Thursday, January 14, 2016

Tree-thinking for non-evolutionary biologists

Today I found by chance the book below titled "Tree-thinking" in a bookshelf in my lab. At that time, I was just looking for other books, but I was attracted by it. This is a trifle, but I wonder if it is just a coincidence that the family name of one of the two authors is 'Baum' (that means 'a tree' in German).

(Here I stop writing about the 'Tree-thinking' book)

Recently, I published a review paper titled "Incorporating tree-thinking and evolutionary time scale into developmental biology" with current and past members of my lab, as I was invited to write a review by the journal Development Growth & Differentiation, to contribute to a special issue titled "Time in Development", serving as proceedings of the symposium held in Kobe, Japan, earlier in Spring 2015.

I know that herein 'time' means something else, like developmental time course, to many other authors contributing to this issue. To me, it was an ideal form and timing to write about my long-term irritation  - underappreciation of basic evolutionary concepts and facts in non-evolutionary studies.

In the review article, I tried to include as many useful ideas and knowledge as possible. It covers an overview of evolutionary distances between model species frequently used in life sciences with a time scale. I also included some examples of changes of gene repertories among vertebrates - such as Bmp16 and Pax10 genes that I usually call "cryptic pan-vertebrate genes". I hope the review paper help foster evolutionary concepts and skills among a wide range of molecular biologists.