Debiais thibaud melanie
Maitre de Conférence


Catshark embryo in its eggshell

Evo-Devo questions the link between variations in embryogenesis and morphological evolution. With the rise of molecular biology, the current challenge is to obtain embryonic series in phylogenetically relevant groups. An emerging model in vertebrates in the lesser spotted catshark Scyliorhinus canicula, an oviparous and still abondant shark found in the Atlantic ocean and Mediterranean sea. Because the study of this group allows covering the full diversity of jawed vertebrates, we may question the steps of body plan evolution during vertebrate evolution.


Within the FORME department, I am currently collaborating mostly with Fabrice Lihoreau, Camille Martinand-Mari and Sylvain Adnet on projects dealing with mineralised structure evolution, and joining paleontological and developmental approaches.

  • molecular descriptive approach of teeth and scale microstructure in the cartilaginous fish and comparative analysis with data in mammals. The objective here is to give the developmental basis of 3D structure within the hypermineralised layers of teeth and tooth-like structures in vertebrates. Adaptative hypotheses may then be tested following the diet of the various studied groups.

Alcian blue staining of a cartilaginous skeleton. Scyliorhinus canicula embryo. In collaboration with team RESGEN, CNRS UMR 9191.


  • description of skeleton morphogenesis in a cartilaginous fish. Molecular markers (from gene expression or immunohistochemistry) are used to describe and compare the steps of vertebral and appendicular skeleton development in vertebrates. The objective here if to identify the rupture point between bony vertebrate and cartilaginous vertebrate development. Because paleontological evidence support a secondary loss of bone in extant cartilaginous vertebrates, this developmental study intend to identify the molecular bases of this loss.


HLBE101: Integrative biology- Unicellular/pluricellular organisms, body plans, major physiological functions, structure and function relationships at the cell, tissue and organism levels.

HLBE201-203: Life cycles - Diversity and evolution in fertilization, embryonic development, cell differentiation and genetic processes in metazoan and spermatophyta.

HLBE302: From genotype to phenotype - The molecular bases of organismal phenotype (embryonic development, sex determination, metamorphosis) and their current experimental approaches in a lab.

HMBE354: EvoDevo - A round trip in the current topics of evolutionary developmental genetics, from populations to phyla. For students of the Master Ecology, Evolution and Biodiversity, Darwin and Paleontology parcours.


A test for paedomorphism in domestic pig cranial morphology. Evin A, Owen J, Larson G, Debiais-Thibaud M, Cucchi T, Vidarsdottir US, Dobney K. Biol Lett. 2017 Aug;13(8). pii: 20170321. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2017.0321.

MicroCT survey of larval skeletal mineralization in the Cuban gar Atractosteus tristoechus (Actinopterygii; Lepisosteiformes). Raphaël Scherrer, Andrés Hurtado, Erik Garcia Machado and Mélanie Debiais-Thibaud. MorphoMuseum in press doi: 10.18563/m3.3.3.e3
Skeletogenesis during the late embryonic development of the catshark Scyliorhinus canicula (Chondrichthyes; Neoselachii). Sébastien Enault, Sylvain Adnet and Mélanie Debiais-Thibaud. MorphoMuseuM 1 (4)-e2. doi: 10.18563/m3.1.4.e2

A complete protocol for the preparation of chondrichthyan skeletal specimens. Enault, S., Auclair, C., Adnet, S., Debiais-Thibaud, M. Journal of Applied Ichthyology (2016), 32 (3), pp. 409-415. doi: 10.1111/jai.13050

Tooth and scale morphogenesis in shark: an alternative process to the mammalian enamel knot system. Debiais-Thibaud M, Chiori R, Enault S, Oulion S, Germon I, Martinand-Mari C, Casane D, Borday-Birraux V. BMC Evol Biol. 2015 Dec 24;15(1):292. doi: 10.1186/s12862-015-0557-0

Molecular footprinting of skeletal tissues in the catshark Scyliorhinus canicula and the clawed frog Xenopus tropicalis identifies conserved and derived features of vertebrate calcification Enault S., Muñoz D.N., Silva W.T.A.F, Borday-Birraux V., Bonade M., Oulion S., Ventéo S., Marcellini S. and Debiais-Thibaud M. Front. Genet., 15 September 2015 |

Heterogeneous conservation of Dlx paralog co-expression in jawed vertebrates. Debiais-Thibaud M, Metcalfe CJ, Pollack J, Germon I, Ekker M, Depew M, Laurenti P, Borday-Birraux V, Casane D. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 28;8(6):e68182. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0068182. Print 2013.

The homology of odontodes in gnathostomes: insights from Dlx gene expression in the dogfish, Scyliorhinus canicula. Debiais-Thibaud M, Oulion S, Bourrat F, Laurenti P, Casane D, Borday-Birraux V. BMC Evol Biol. 2011 Oct 18;11(1):307.

Evolution of repeated structures along the body axis of jawed vertebrates, insights from the Scyliorhinus canicula Hox code. Oulion S, Borday-Birraux V, Debiais-Thibaud M, Mazan S, Laurenti P, Casane D. Evol Dev. 2011 May-Jun;13(3):247-59.

Evolution of Hox gene clusters in gnathostomes: insights from a survey of a shark (Scyliorhinus canicula) transcriptome. Oulion S, Debiais-Thibaud M, Aubenton-Carafa YD, Thermes C, Da Silva C, Bernard-Samain S, Gavory F, Wincker P, Mazan S, Casane D. Mol Biol Evol. 2010 Jul 8.

Functional conservation of a forebrain enhancer from the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii ) in zebrafish and mice. MacDonald RB, Debiais-Thibaud M, Martin K, Poitras L, Tay BH, Venkatesh B, Ekker M. BMC Evol Biol. 2010 May 26;10:157.

Low divergence in Dlx gene expression between dentitions of the medaka (Oryzias latipes) versus high level of expression shuffling in osteichtyans. Debiais-Thibaud M, Germon I, Laurenti P, Casane D, Borday-Birraux V. Evol Dev. 2008 Jul-Aug;10(4):464-76.