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Systematic comparison and reconstruction of sea urchin (Echinoidea) internal anatomy: a novel approach using magnetic resonance imaging

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      Abstract

      Background

      Traditional comparative morphological analyses and subsequent three-dimensional reconstructions suffer from a number of drawbacks. This is particularly evident in the case of soft tissue studies that are technically demanding, time-consuming, and often prone to produce artefacts. These problems can partly be overcome by employing non-invasive, destruction-free imaging techniques, in particular micro-computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.

      Results

      Here, we employed high-field magnetic resonance imaging techniques to gather numerous data from members of a major marine invertebrate taxon, the sea urchins (Echinoidea). For this model study, 13 of the 14 currently recognized high-ranking subtaxa (orders) of this group of animals were analyzed. Based on the acquired datasets, interactive three-dimensional models were assembled. Our analyses reveal that selected soft tissue characters can even be used for phylogenetic inferences in sea urchins, as exemplified by differences in the size and shape of the gastric caecum found in the Irregularia.

      Conclusion

      The main focus of our investigation was to explore the possibility to systematically visualize the internal anatomy of echinoids obtained from various museum collections. We show that, in contrast to classical preparative procedures, magnetic resonance imaging can give rapid, destruction-free access to morphological data from numerous specimens, thus extending the range of techniques available for comparative studies of invertebrate morphology.

      Related collections

      Most cited references 77

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      User-guided 3D active contour segmentation of anatomical structures: significantly improved efficiency and reliability.

      Active contour segmentation and its robust implementation using level set methods are well-established theoretical approaches that have been studied thoroughly in the image analysis literature. Despite the existence of these powerful segmentation methods, the needs of clinical research continue to be fulfilled, to a large extent, using slice-by-slice manual tracing. To bridge the gap between methodological advances and clinical routine, we developed an open source application called ITK-SNAP, which is intended to make level set segmentation easily accessible to a wide range of users, including those with little or no mathematical expertise. This paper describes the methods and software engineering philosophy behind this new tool and provides the results of validation experiments performed in the context of an ongoing child autism neuroimaging study. The validation establishes SNAP intrarater and interrater reliability and overlap error statistics for the caudate nucleus and finds that SNAP is a highly reliable and efficient alternative to manual tracing. Analogous results for lateral ventricle segmentation are provided.
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        Broad phylogenomic sampling improves resolution of the animal tree of life.

        Long-held ideas regarding the evolutionary relationships among animals have recently been upended by sometimes controversial hypotheses based largely on insights from molecular data. These new hypotheses include a clade of moulting animals (Ecdysozoa) and the close relationship of the lophophorates to molluscs and annelids (Lophotrochozoa). Many relationships remain disputed, including those that are required to polarize key features of character evolution, and support for deep nodes is often low. Phylogenomic approaches, which use data from many genes, have shown promise for resolving deep animal relationships, but are hindered by a lack of data from many important groups. Here we report a total of 39.9 Mb of expressed sequence tags from 29 animals belonging to 21 phyla, including 11 phyla previously lacking genomic or expressed-sequence-tag data. Analysed in combination with existing sequences, our data reinforce several previously identified clades that split deeply in the animal tree (including Protostomia, Ecdysozoa and Lophotrochozoa), unambiguously resolve multiple long-standing issues for which there was strong conflicting support in earlier studies with less data (such as velvet worms rather than tardigrades as the sister group of arthropods), and provide molecular support for the monophyly of molluscs, a group long recognized by morphologists. In addition, we find strong support for several new hypotheses. These include a clade that unites annelids (including sipunculans and echiurans) with nemerteans, phoronids and brachiopods, molluscs as sister to that assemblage, and the placement of ctenophores as the earliest diverging extant multicellular animals. A single origin of spiral cleavage (with subsequent losses) is inferred from well-supported nodes. Many relationships between a stable subset of taxa find strong support, and a diminishing number of lineages remain recalcitrant to placement on the tree.
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          The genome of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus.

          We report the sequence and analysis of the 814-megabase genome of the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, a model for developmental and systems biology. The sequencing strategy combined whole-genome shotgun and bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) sequences. This use of BAC clones, aided by a pooling strategy, overcame difficulties associated with high heterozygosity of the genome. The genome encodes about 23,300 genes, including many previously thought to be vertebrate innovations or known only outside the deuterostomes. This echinoderm genome provides an evolutionary outgroup for the chordates and yields insights into the evolution of deuterostomes.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Institut für Biologie, Freie Universität Berlin, Königin-Luise-Straße, 14195 Berlin, Germany
            [2 ]Experimentelle Physik 5, Universität Würzburg, Am Hubland, 97074 Würzburg, Germany
            [3 ]Institut für Klinische Radiologie, Universitätsklinikum Münster, Waldeyerstraße, 48149 Münster, Germany
            [4 ]Berlin NeuroImaging Center, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
            Contributors
            Journal
            BMC Biol
            BMC Biology
            BioMed Central
            1741-7007
            2008
            23 July 2008
            : 6
            : 33
            2500006
            1741-7007-6-33
            18651948
            10.1186/1741-7007-6-33
            Copyright © 2008 Ziegler et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Categories
            Research Article

            Life sciences

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