Sponges are said to be the simplest of multi-cellular organisms. Because they are simple filter feeders, lacking nervous, digestive, and circulatory systems, they are an important piece in studying the evolution of animals. Sponges are found all over the world and suggest to be diverged early from other animals.

A recent study found extremely surprising evidence about sponges that could potentially shed new light on animal evolution. The study showed that higher complex genes, thought to be absent in sponges, proved to be present in all sponge types. Gene study is very important in sponges. Genes in sponges are involved in more basic structures and the functions of theses genes are currently unknown. It is important to study these genes because the genes we do know in other animals may serve a different function in sponges, suggesting these genes were “co-opted” later for the function we know now. Determining the function of genes in sponges is the next step in studying animal evolution.

These findings are ground breaking because they can lead to new ideas in determining gene function and early evolution of metazoan. Its amazing how much information scientists can conclude from such a simple organism!

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Nadia Prigoda-Lee/Attribution License


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