EVOLUTION OF MORPHOGENETIC MECHANISMS
In the Magie lab we are broadly interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying morphogenesis, and the ways these mechanisms have evolved to generate animal diversity. Our primary model organism is the starlet sea anemone, Nematostella vectensis, an anthozoan cnidarian. Cnidarians are the sister group to the bilaterians, which are bilaterally-symmetric organisms such as the fruit fly, mouse and human. Studies withNematostella therefore promise to provide important insights into morphogenetic mechanisms at the base of the metazoan tree, as well as how those mechanisms have been altered during bilaterian evolution to generate the amazing diversity of form found across the animal kingdom. Cnidarians as a group are also extremely diverse in their life history and developmental strategies, opening up many avenues for comparative approaches.