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The phylogenetic position of amphioxus, together with its relatively simple and evolutionarily conserved morphology and genome structure, has led to its use as a model for studies of vertebrate evolution. In particular, the recent development of technical approaches, as well as access to the complete amphioxus genome sequence, has provided the community with tools with which to study the invertebrate-chordate to vertebrate transition. Here, we present this animal model, discussing its lifedoi:10.1242/dev.066720 pmid:22028023 fatcat:5k4mhlj2jnhq7pppx7n6df64em