ZOONET: perspectives on the evolution of animal form. Meeting report.
Fischer AHL., Arboleda E., Egger B., Hilbrant M., McGregor AP., Cole AG., Daley AC.
What drives evolution? This was one of the main questions raised at the final ZOONET meeting in Budapest, Hungary, in November 2008. The meeting marked the conclusion of ZOONET, an EU-funded Marie-Curie Research Training Network comprising nine research groups from all over Europe (Max Telford, University College London; Michael Akam, University of Cambridge; Detlev Arendt, EMBL Heidelberg; Maria Ina Arnone, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn Napoli; Michalis Averof, IMBB Heraklion; Graham Budd, Uppsala University; Richard Copley, University of Oxford; Wim Damen, University of Cologne; Ernst Wimmer, University of Göttingen). ZOONET meetings and practical courses held during the past four years provided researchers from diverse backgrounds--bioinformatics, phylogenetics, embryology, palaeontology, and developmental and molecular biology--the opportunity to discuss their work under a common umbrella of evolutionary developmental biology (Evo Devo). The Budapest meeting emphasized in-depth discussions of the key concepts defining Evo Devo, and bringing together ZOONET researchers with external speakers who were invited to present their views on the evolution of animal form. The discussion sessions addressed four main topics: the driving forces of evolution, segmentation, fossils and phylogeny, and the future of Evo Devo.