Indexed on: 05 Apr '18Published on: 05 Apr '18Published in: RNA biology
How animals evolved from a single-celled ancestor over 700 million years ago is poorly understood. Recent transcriptomic and chromatin analyses in the sponge Amphimedon queenslandica, a morphologically-simple representative of one of the oldest animal phyletic lineages, have shed light on what innovations in the genome and its regulation underlie the emergence of animal multicellularity. Comparisons of the regulatory genome of this sponge with those of more complex bilaterian model species and even simpler unicellular relatives have revealed that fundamental changes in genome regulatory complexity accompanied the evolution of animal multicellularity. Here, we review and discuss the results of these recent investigations by specifically focusing on the contribution of long non-coding RNAs to the evolution of the animal regulatory genome.