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Gene sharing networks, genetic parasites, and the evolution of microbial and viral genomes

  • January 24th, 2020
Gene sharing networks, genetic parasites, and the evolution of microbial and viral genomes


Date: Monday, February 17th, 2020

Hour: 12:30

Venue: Institute for Integrative Systems Biolgy (I2SYSBIO), Seminars Room

Organizer: Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (I2SYSBIO) (UV-CSIC).

Abstract: Evolution of microbes and viruses is fueled by intense gene
exchange and shaped by the incessant arms race between parasites and hosts.
Both processes account for microbes' diversity and ability to quickly adapt
to and exploit changing environments through the acquisition of new genes
and antiparasite defense systems. The evolutionary factors that govern
genomic plasticity are complex and difficult to disentangle, but rapidly
growing genome databases provide ample material for testing evolutionary
models. In my talk, I will focus on three fundamental questions: How
beneficial (or burdensome) are different classes of genes for the microbes
that harbor them? How can slightly beneficial genes and genetic parasites
persist in spite of rampant gene loss? And finally, can genomic plasticity
affect the evolution of core, highly-conserved genes? Our research combines empirical data with tools from computational biology, comparative genomics, statistical mechanics, and network science. To illustrate the latter, I will also present some of our recent work investigating gene sharing networks in the virosphere.



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