Catalysis Meeting

Myelin, a new model for evolutionary innovation

PI(s): Daniel Hartline (University of Hawaii-Hilo)
David Colman
Petra Lenz
Mark Martindale
Elaine Seaver
G√ľnter Wagner
Start Date: 1-Mar-2007
End Date: 26-Oct-2007
Keywords: evolutionary novelty

Innovations are significant evolutionary events that create lines of phylogenetic development centered on new biological designs. This catalysis meeting will bring together researchers from evolutionary biology, biological oceanography, paleoecology, mathematics, molecular biology, developmental biology and neuroscience to explore the potential of developing a new model system for the investigation of the innovation process. This model is nervous system myelin. Myelin is a multilayered membranous ensheathment of axons that has arisen multiple times in the course of evolution. Myelin conveys major advantages in nervous system communication speed, and space and energy savings. Unlike other innovation models, myelin provides one of the few opportunities to work on the evolution of behavior and its physiological basis. Although myelin has been the focus of much biomedical research, these studies have lacked an evolutionary perspective. Myelin has much potential as a tool for use in evolutionary biology.

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