A major challenge for the next generation of researchers in biology will be to integrate knowledge of developmental biology, bioinformatics, functional genomics and evolutionary biology. This requires a new combination of interdisciplinary training to bri dge the gap between what are currently quite separate disciplines. The EVONET Initial training network (www.itn-evonet.com) brought together 8 leading European groups to apply systems biology approaches to the understanding of the evolution of gene regula tory networks (GRNs). We sought to integrate information on GRNs from diverse animal systems, representing all major animal lineages, with particular emphases on the mesoderm specification network and the head regionalization network. To this end, this ne twork provided early researchers with the skills necessary to apply state of the art systems biology, genomics and bioinformatics tools to emerging model organisms. To reach this goal, we organized two major complementary courses, one focusing on the tech nology of Chromatin-Immunoprecipation followed by high throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) and the subsequent bioinformatic analysis (at the EMBL/Heidelberg), and one focusing on the knowledge of and the molecular approach to diverse marine organisms (in a m arine station in Sweden). Yearly graduate schools at all locations of the EVONET partners as well as site-visits at innovative SMEs provided a platform for interaction and soft-skill training for the fellows.
Summary of the project objectives:
Objective 1: Relating the spatiotemporal expression of the TFs in one species, and between species.
Objective 2: Expression profiling of embryos after knock-down of one transcription factor.
Objective 3: Identification of TF binding sites by genome-wide ChIP-on-chi p and ChIP-seq.
Objective 4: Identification and comparison of regulatory regions and regulatory modules.
Objective 5: Validation of detected regulatory elements by transgenesis.