By Ewen Callaway
Most summers since 1893, young developmental and evolutionary biologists have flocked to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to master the tricks of their trade. At the world-famous Marine Biological Laboratory there, students in its annual embryology course dissect sea urchins and comb jellies, and graft cells together from different animals. But for the last three years, the keen apprentices have been learning something new: gene editing.
The precise, efficient CRISPR–Cas9 gene-editing technique has already taken life-sciences labs by storm. Now it is sweeping through evo-devo, the field that seeks to explain the developmental changes underlying evolutionary adaptations. Read more…
Caption: A model and fossil of Tiktaalik roseae, a transitional fossil that illustrates how fish began to develop limbs. Credit: Field Museum Library/Getty Images