Clifton Ragsdale

Research Summary
The octopus is rich in evolutionary novelties, from an immense nervous system to prehensile arms to a tremendously sophisticated adaptive coloration system. It is the octopus's brain and behavior that has attracted the greatest study, but much of this research was done in the 20th century and limited by the techniques of the time. The major focus of the Ragsdale laboratory is to bring the modern advances in neuroscience, molecular cell biology and genetic manipulation to the study of cephalopod biology. Our first major step was into genomics and transcriptomics. In 2015, the Ragsdale laboratory, in collaboration with the Rokhsar group at UC-Berkeley, reported the genome of the Ragsdale lab's chosen model organism, Octopus bimaculoides. Current research includes comparative cephalopod genomics, octopus arm regeneration, the organization of the cephalopod nervous system, and the neuroendocrinology of octopus sex and death. The other focus of the Ragsdale laboratory is the evolutionary developmental neurobiology of the neocortex.
Octopuses, Neocortex, Systems Neuroscience, Developmental Biology, Evolutionary biology, Regeneration
  1. Steroid hormones of the octopus self-destruct system. Curr Biol. 2022 06 06; 32(11):2572-2579.e4. View in: PubMed

  2. Genome and transcriptome mechanisms driving cephalopod evolution. Nat Commun. 2022 05 04; 13(1):2427. View in: PubMed

  3. Evolution of the Chordate Telencephalon. Curr Biol. 2019 07 08; 29(13):R647-R662. View in: PubMed

  4. Homology, neocortex, and the evolution of developmental mechanisms. Science. 2018 10 12; 362(6411):190-193. View in: PubMed

  5. Molecular anatomy of the alligator dorsal telencephalon. J Comp Neurol. 2018 07 01; 526(10):1613-1646. View in: PubMed

  6. Neocortical Association Cell Types in the Forebrain of Birds and Alligators. Curr Biol. 2018 03 05; 28(5):686-696.e6. View in: PubMed

  7. More than one way to a central nervous system. Nature. 2018 01 04; 553(7686):34-36. View in: PubMed

  8. Cadherin genes and evolutionary novelties in the octopus. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2017 09; 69:151-157. View in: PubMed

  9. The octopus genome and the evolution of cephalopod neural and morphological novelties. Nature. 2015 Aug 13; 524(7564):220-4. View in: PubMed

  10. The gyri of the octopus vertical lobe have distinct neurochemical identities. J Comp Neurol. 2015 Jun 15; 523(9):1297-317. View in: PubMed

  11. Cell-type homologies and the origins of the neocortex. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 16; 109(42):16974-9. View in: PubMed

  12. PHOX2A regulation of oculomotor complex nucleogenesis. Development. 2010 Apr; 137(7):1205-13. View in: PubMed