The Annelids are characterized by the appearance of a coelomic cavity and segmentation. These morphologic innovations are due to the appearance of major genetic programs of differentiation and development in the Metazoans during the course of evolution. At this time, Annelids are largely under-represented in sequence databases (less than 1000 protein sequences. The construction and sequencing of a complete cDNA library from Alvinella pompejana will lead to the rapid generation of molecular information about this phylum. This project will be complementary to the French project for the sequencing of the genome of the Annelid, Platynereis dumerillii. In fact, the cDNA sequences of Alvinella will be very useful in the annotation of the genome of Platynereis dumerilii, and the sequences of the two organisms will open the door to numerous comparisons.
In addition to its evolutionary interest, A. pompejana exhibits a thermotolerance which is exceptional in a eukaryote (from 20 to more than 80 degrees), which makes this an ideal model organism for the production of thermostable proteins of animal origin for the following applications :