Josué Barrera Redondo, PhD
Department of Algal Development and Evolution
MPI for Biology Tübingen
Title: "Tracking down the evolution of taxonomically-restricted genes in the brown algae"
Abstract: The emergence of taxonomically-restricted genes (TRGs) through de novo gene birth addresses some crucial questions in evolutionary biology, such as the evolution of novel gene families and the transition of a seemingly “functionless” genomic element to a “functional” one. Yet, tracing back gene-family founder events (i.e., the putative age at which a gene family emerged) is a laborious and time-consuming task, which is also filled with potential pitfalls. I’ll present a methodology to detect gene-family founder events that is fast and scalable to huge databases, which we implement as a command-line tool called genEra. We apply this method to explore the evolutionary dynamics behind TRG emergence in the brown algae, including the emergence of TRGs in the evolutionary transition to multicellularity and the role of sex chromosomes as potential “nurseries” for recently emerged TRGs.
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