Brief History of Placozoa

Methods Mol Biol. 2024:2757:103-122. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-3642-8_3.


Placozoans are morphologically the simplest free-living animals. They represent a unique window of opportunities to understand both the origin of the animal organization and the rules of life for the system and synthetic biology of the future. However, despite more than 100 years of their investigations, we know little about their organization, natural habitats, and life strategies. Here, we introduce this unique animal phylum and highlight some directions vital to broadening the frontiers of the biomedical sciences. In particular, understanding the genomic bases of placozoan biodiversity, cell identity, connectivity, reproduction, and cellular bases of behavior are critical hot spots for future studies.

Keywords: Basal Metazoa; Ecology; Evolution; Genomics; History; Hoilungia; Morphology; Phylogeny; Placozoa; Trichoplax; scRNA-seq.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biodiversity
  • Ecosystem
  • Genome
  • Genomics / methods
  • Phylogeny
  • Placozoa* / genetics
  • Reproduction