Research Expertise and Interest
choanoflagellates, multicellularity, evolution of animals, host-microbe interactions, bacterial cues
Nicole King is an Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a professor of genetics, genomics, and development.
The origin of animals represents one of the pivotal transitions in life’s history, and one of its greatest unsolved mysteries. While the fossil record remains silent regarding the rise of multicellularity, the genetic and developmental foundations of animal origins may be deduced from shared elements among extant animals and their protozoan relatives, the choanoflagellates. To better understand the origin and evolution of animals, the King Lab goals are to:
- determine the minimal genomic complexity of the unicellular progenitors of animals
- elucidate the ancestral functions of genes required for animal development
- characterize choanoflagellate cell and developmental biology