Stem Cells, Development and Evolution



The “Stem cells, Development and Evolution” team studies the evolution of stem cells and regeneration in animals. The main biological model studied by the team is the annelid worm, Platynereis dumerilii, an emerging model species for developmental and evolutionary studies. We characterize, with a large variety of molecular, cellular, and genomic tools, the amazing regenerative abilities of this animal, with the general aim to determine, through comparative analyses, whether regeneration in animals relies on conserved mechanisms and genetic programs or not. Using a combination of experimental and in silico approaches, we also aim to understand how stem cells involved in development, growth and regeneration have evolved in animals.


Group Leader: Michel VERVOORT

Professor, University of Paris

+33 (0)157278101

michel.vervoort (at)


ORCID: 0000-0002-5995-2140





Research Topics:


Themes : Développement et évolution ; Cellules souches ; régénération ; destin cellulaire et différenciation ; évolution ; morphogenèse

Axes: Biologie quantitative et modélisation ,bioinformatique, réseaux de régulation, transcriptomique, Pathologies moléculaires et cellulaires, cancer, réparation tissulaire

Models: annélide ; autres modèles


Selected publications:


-Bideau L, Kerner P, Hui J, Vervoort M, Gazave E. Animal regeneration in the era of transcriptomics. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021 78(8):3941-3956. (read here)

-Planques, A., Kerner, P., Ferry, L., Grunau, C., Gazave, E., & Vervoort, M. (2021). DNA methylation during development and regeneration of the annelid Platynereis dumerilii. BMC Biology, 19(1), 148.

-Planques, A., Malem, J., Parapar, J., Vervoort, M., Gazave, E. (2019) Morphological, cellular and molecular characterization of posterior regeneration in the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii. Dev Biol. 445(2):189-210.

-Özpolat, B.D., Handberg-Thorsager, M., Vervoort, M. & Balavoine, G. (2017) Cell lineage and cell cycling analyses of the 4d micromere using live imaging in the marine annelid Platynereis dumeriliieLife, 6, e30463.

-Gazave E., Lemaître Q., and Balavoine G. (2017) The Notch pathway in the annelid Platynereis: Insights into chaetogenesis and neurogenesis processes. Open Biology 7(2)

-Vervoort M., Meulemeester D., Béhague J., and Kerner P. (2016). Evolution of Prdm Genes in Animals: Insights from Comparative Genomics. Mol. Biol. Evol. 33: 679-696.

-Gazave E.#, Béhague J.#, Laplane L., Guillou A., Préau L., Demilly A., Balavoine G., and Vervoort M. (2013). Posterior elongation in the annelid Platynereis dumerilii involves stem cells molecularly related to primordial germ cells. Dev. Biol 382, 246-267. # = co-first author.

-Demilly A., Gazave E., Steinmetz P., Marchand L., and Vervoort M. (2013). Involvement of the Wnt/b-catenin pathway in neurectoderm architecture in Platynereis dumeriliiNat. Commun. 4:1915.

-Kerner P., Degnan S.M., Marchand L., Degnan B.M., and Vervoort M. (2011). Evolution of RNA-binding proteins in animals: Insights from genome-wide analysis in the sponge Amphimedon queenslandicaMol Biol Evol. 28, 2289-303.

-Dray N., Tessmar-Raible K., Le Gouar M., Vibert L., Christodoulou F., Snyman H., Béhague J., Vervoort M., Arendt D., and Balavoine G. (2010). The hedgehog pathway regulates segment formation in the annelid PlatynereisScience 329, 339-342.