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The phylum chordata are composed of three groups: vertebrata, tunicate and cephalochordata. Single cell developmental atlas for typical species in vertebrata (mouse, zebrafish, western frog, worm) and tunicate (sea squirts) has been constructed recently. However, the single cell resolution atlas for lancelet, a living proxy of vertebrate ancestors, has not been achieved yet. Here, we profiled more than 57 thousand cells during the development of florida lancelet ( Branchiostoma floridae ), covering important processes including embryogenesis, organogenesis and metamorphosis. We identified stage and cluster specific regulatory elements. Additionally, we revealed the regulatory codes underlying functional specification and lineage commitment. Based on epigenetic features, we constructed the developmental trajectory for lancelet, elucidating how cell fates were established progressively. Overall, our study provides, by far, the first single cell regulatory landscape of amphioxus, which could help us to understand the heterogeneity and complexity of lancet development at single cell resolution and throw light upon the great transition from simple chordate ancestor to modern vertebrates with amazing diversity and endless forms.

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