Just back in from the ASCB meeting, so much to catch up on. But I thought I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight the set of emerging model organisms featured in this month’s issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols:
The Demosponge Amphimedon queenslandica is the first poriferan to have its genome sequenced, assembled and annotated and it represents one of the most (if not the most) ancient phyla of multicellular animals alive today. Protocols are provided for isolation of embryos, in situ hybridization, cell labeling and tracking, and genotyping.

Dictyostelium discoideum, known as “The Social Ameba” has a long history in scientific research, and is more a “classic” system than an emerging one. A unicellular eukaryote, D. discoideum can form a multicellular structure when nutrient conditions are limiting. The cellular and molecular aspects of their multicellular lifestyle have been studied in detail, and general principles for cell-to-cell communication, intracellular signaling, and cytoskeletal organization during cell motility have been derived from this work and have been found to be conserved across all eukaryotes. Protocols are provided for growth, multicellular development, making stocks, transformation, electroporation, selection of transformants, DNA extraction, and RNA extraction.

The Two-Spotted Cricket Gryllus bimaculatus has been widely used to study insect physiology and neurobiology. Its capacity for regeneration and amenability toward RNAi-based methods makes it an excellent system for the study of development and regeneration.

The Dogfish Scyliorhinus canicula is a relatively small shark that is fairly easy to maintain in the laboratory. It provides a window into the oft-neglected (due to technical difficulties) study of chondrichthyans, which should provide valuable insight due to their evolutionary position. It also allows anaylsis of the elaborate physiological and sensory systems used by sharks.