Seminars, events & talks

Thursday, 16th January, 2020, 12:00

Unravelling the mystery of orphan genes to understand the origins of genetic novelty

What explains the presence of a gene only in the genome of one species and not in any other?

Species-specific protein-coding genes, also known as orphans, can arise "from scratch" from previously non-genic loci, through a process known as de novo gene emergence. How exactly the evolutionary transition from non-gene to functional gene unfolds is unclear. Can such de novo emerging genes increase an organism's fitness, and if so how? Orphan genes can also result from extensive sequence divergence of ancestral genes, which can eventually erase all similarity of a gene to its homologues in other species, a process even less well understood than de novo emergence. 

I will present novel findings which advance our understanding of both these evolutionary mechanisms and bring us a small step closer to a complete picture of the origins of genetic novelty.

Speaker: Nikos Vakirlis, Benaki Phytopathological Institute, Athens, Greece

Room Aula room 473.10 (4th floor)

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