Dr Dave Ferrier

Dr Dave Ferrier
Reader in Biology and Deputy Director of the Scottish Oceans Institute


Research Overview. We aim to understand how the diversity of form in the animal kingdom evolved. The focus of our research is the connection between the evolution of animal genome organisation and development, with a particular concentration on the homeobox-containing genes. The Hox gene cluster is established as a corner-stone of Evolutionary Developmental Biology, but much about the evolution of its organisation and mode of operation remains unknown. Also the Hox cluster is not unique as a homeobox gene cluster controlling animal development, further clusters being the ParaHox and NK clusters, all of which evolved within larger arrays of homeobox genes (the Mega-cluster, Giga-cluster and Super-Hox cluster). We utilize a variety of organisms in our research (including amphioxus, sea squirts, polychaetes and priapulids), chosen from key points in the phylogeny of the animals to enable reconstruction of the ancestral conditions at major nodes in the animal kingdom; the origin of bilaterians, protostomes, deuterostomes, chordates and vertebrates, as well as the origin of the entire animal kingdom. Knowledge of such ancestors is vital in understanding subsequent diversification.

source: symbiosis


Recent publications

8  (of 8 published available) for dekf with keyword Chordate clear keyword filter. (source: University of St Andrews PURE)
Please click title of any item for full details.

2018 (21/11)
vol.564 pp.64-70
Amphioxus functional genomics and the origins of vertebrate gene regulation
Ferdinand Marletaz, Panos Firbas, Ignacio Maeso, Juan Tena, Ozren Bogdanovic, Malcolm Perry, Chris Wyatt, Elisa de la Calle-Mustienes, Stephanie Bertrand, Demian Burguera, Rafael Acemel, Simon van Heeringen, Silvia Naranjo, Carlos Herrera-Ubeda, Ksenia Skvortsova, Sandra Jimenez-Gancedo, Daniel Aldea, Yamile Marquez, Lorena Buono, Iryna Kozmikova, Jon Permanyer, Alexandra Louis, Beatriz Albuixech-Crespo, Yann Le Petillon, Anthony Leon Florian, Lucie Subirana, Piotr J. Balwierz, Paul Duckett, Ensieh Farahani, Jean Marc Aury, Sophie Mangenot, Patrick Wincker, Ricard Albalat, Elia Benito-Gutierrez, Cristian Canestro, Filipe Castro, Salvatore D'Aniello, David Ellard Keith Ferrier, Shengfeng Huang, Vincent Laudet, Gabriel Marais, Pierre Pontarotti, Michael Schubert, Herve Seitz, Ildiko Maureen Lara Somorjai, Tokiharu Takahashi, Olivier Mirabeau, Anlong Xu, Jr-Kai Yu, Piero Carninci, Juan Martinez-Morales, Hugues Crollius, Zbynek Kozmik, Matt Weirauch, Jordi Garcia-Fernandez, Ryan Lister, Boris Lenhard, Peter Holland, Hector Escriva, Jose Luis Gomez-Skarmeta, Manuel Irimia 
2018 (20/6)
Scientific Reports
Pax3/7 duplicated and diverged independently in amphioxus, the basal chordate lineage
David Ellard Keith Ferrier, Ildiko Maureen Lara Somorjai 

Developmental Biology
vol.In press 
Transcriptional regulation of the Ciona Gsx gene in the neural plate
Clare Hudson, Rosaria Esposito, Antonio Palladino, Leopoldo Staiano, David Ellard Keith Ferrier, Emmanuel Faure, Patrick Lemaire, Hitoyoshi Yasuo, Antonietta Spagnuolo 
Keywords: Ascidian, Ciona, Gsx, Transcriptional regulation, Promoter, Neural patterning, Para-hox
2013 (6)
BMC Biology
(Review article)
2012 (7)
Open Biology
Evolution of signal multiplexing by 14-3-3-binding 2R-ohnologue protein families in the vertebrates
Michele Tinti, Catherine Johnson, Rachel Toth, David Ellard Keith Ferrier, Carol MacKintosh 
Keywords: Branchiostoma, Ciona, Hereditary spastic paraplegia, RAB3GAP1, RAB3GAP2
2011 (16/8)
BMC Evolutionary Biology
vol.11 pp.241
Annelid Distal-less/Dlx duplications reveal varied post-duplication fates
Carmel McDougall, Natalia Korchagina, Johnathan Tobin, David Ellard Keith Ferrier 
2011 (20/1)
BMC Biology
2010 (22/11)
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
vol.277 pp.3381-3389
Ancient homeobox gene loss and the evolution of chordate brain and pharynx development
Thomas Butts, Peter W.H. Holland, David Ellard Keith Ferrier 


The Secretary
Scottish Oceans Institute
Institiud Chuantan na h-Alba
Gatty Marine Laboratory
East Sands St Andrews
KY16 8LB

tel: +44 (0) 1334 463472
fax: +44 (0) 1334 463443