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      Micro-computed tomography: Introducing new dimensions to taxonomy

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          Abstract

          Abstract

          Continuous improvements in the resolution of three-dimensional imaging have led to an increased application of these techniques in conventional taxonomic research in recent years. Coupled with an ever increasing research effort in cybertaxonomy, three-dimensional imaging could give a boost to the development of virtual specimen collections, allowing rapid and simultaneous access to accurate virtual representations of type material. This paper explores the potential of micro-computed tomography (X-ray micro-tomography), a non-destructive three-dimensional imaging technique based on mapping X-ray attenuation in the scanned object, for supporting research in systematics and taxonomy. The subsequent use of these data as virtual type material, so-called “cybertypes”, and the creation of virtual collections lie at the core of this potential. Sample preparation, image acquisition, data processing and presentation of results are demonstrated using polychaetes (bristle worms), a representative taxon of macro-invertebrates, as a study object. Effects of the technique on the morphological, anatomical and molecular identity of the specimens are investigated. The paper evaluates the results and discusses the potential and the limitations of the technique for creating cybertypes. It also discusses the challenges that the community might face to establish virtual collections. Potential future applications of three-dimensional information in taxonomic research are outlined, including an outlook to new ways of producing, disseminating and publishing taxonomic information.

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          Most cited references 56

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          Phylogenomics revives traditional views on deep animal relationships.

          The origin of many of the defining features of animal body plans, such as symmetry, nervous system, and the mesoderm, remains shrouded in mystery because of major uncertainty regarding the emergence order of the early branching taxa: the sponge groups, ctenophores, placozoans, cnidarians, and bilaterians. The "phylogenomic" approach [1] has recently provided a robust picture for intrabilaterian relationships [2, 3] but not yet for more early branching metazoan clades. We have assembled a comprehensive 128 gene data set including newly generated sequence data from ctenophores, cnidarians, and all four main sponge groups. The resulting phylogeny yields two significant conclusions reviving old views that have been challenged in the molecular era: (1) that the sponges (Porifera) are monophyletic and not paraphyletic as repeatedly proposed [4-9], thus undermining the idea that ancestral metazoans had a sponge-like body plan; (2) that the most likely position for the ctenophores is together with the cnidarians in a "coelenterate" clade. The Porifera and the Placozoa branch basally with respect to a moderately supported "eumetazoan" clade containing the three taxa with nervous system and muscle cells (Cnidaria, Ctenophora, and Bilateria). This new phylogeny provides a stimulating framework for exploring the important changes that shaped the body plans of the early diverging phyla.
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            Electron tomography and holography in materials science.

            The rapid development of electron tomography, in particular the introduction of novel tomographic imaging modes, has led to the visualization and analysis of three-dimensional structural and chemical information from materials at the nanometre level. In addition, the phase information revealed in electron holograms allows electrostatic and magnetic potentials to be mapped quantitatively with high spatial resolution and, when combined with tomography, in three dimensions. Here we present an overview of the techniques of electron tomography and electron holography and demonstrate their capabilities with the aid of case studies that span materials science and the interface between the physical sciences and the life sciences.
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              Higher-level metazoan relationships: recent progress and remaining questions

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Zookeys
                Zookeys
                ZooKeys
                ZooKeys
                Pensoft Publishers
                1313-2989
                1313-2970
                2013
                4 February 2013
                : 263
                : 1-45
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Zoology-Marine Biology, Faculty of Biology, National and Kapodestrian University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, 15784, Athens, Greece,
                [2 ]Institute for Marine Biology, Biotechnology and Aquaculture, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
                [3 ]Department of Biology, University of Patras, 26504, Rio, Patras, Greece
                [4 ]Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Sarah Faulwetter ( sarifa@ 123456hcmr.gr )

                Academic editor: V. Smith

                Article
                10.3897/zookeys.263.4261
                3591762
                23653515
                Sarah Faulwetter, Aikaterini Vasileiadou, Michail Kouratoras, Thanos Dailianis,  Christos Arvanitidis

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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