Thesis defense of William Blevins: "Evolutionary dynamics of transcriptional and translational regulation in yeast"

Next friday 17th of January at 10:00AMWilliam Blevins, member of the Evolutionary Genomics group of GRIB, will read his thesis: "Evolutionary dynamics of transcriptional and translational regulation in yeast".

The event will take place at the Ramon y Cajal room on the ground floor of PRBB. You are all invited to come. 

Summary: All living organisms respond to environmental stimuli by modulating the activity of different genes. This response can occur across many locations throughout the cell such as at the level of transcription, translation, and even post-translational modifications. Some of this variation between species is attributable to the presence or absence of lineage-specific genes. The birth of new genes via de novo birth i.e. from previously non-genic DNA is predicted to contribute significantly to this diversity; in fact, hundreds of de novo genes have been identified in dozens of species across the tree of life, and several have been shown to confer adaptive advantages. To explore the questions surrounding the topic of how de novo genes are born, we generated high-depth transcriptomic data for 11 species of yeast, as well as ribosome profiling and proteomics data for Saccharomyces cerevisiae in rich media and oxidative stress conditions. Hypothetically, the relative shortage of non-coding genetic material in the densely-packed genome of S. cerevisiae could inhibit the emergence of new de novo genes. However, we identified 213 putative de novo genes in S. cerevisiae, over a third of which are translated, and approximately half of them overlap more ancient genes on the antisense strand. We found that a significant fraction of S. cerevisiae genes (~5%) have recently emerged via de novo mechanisms over the past 20 million years, and that the transcript-first model of de novo gene birth appears to be the predominant model in baker's yeast.

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