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Laura Guitérrez Macías defends her thesis on adaptive mechanisms in Saccharomyces species

  • May 21st, 2021
Laura Guitérrez Macías defends her thesis on adaptive mechanisms in <em>Saccharomyces</em> species

This doctoral thesis, supervised by Eladio Barrio and Christina Toft, analyses by comparative genomics how alternative and less-known species of the genus Saccharomyces with potential industrial interest adapt to their natural environments. The results of the research have been published in the journals Frontiers in Genetics and G3: Genes, Genomes and Genetics. The thesis was defended on 21 May 2021.

Saccharomyces genus is a fascinating model for evolutionary biology due to its high genetic and phenotypic diversity. The improvement in the sampling efforts during the last decade has resulted in the isolation of Saccharomyces species from a wide range of sources worldwide. S. cerevisiae is probably the most well-known eukaryotic system and the dominant organism in most industrial fermentations. Due to the new challenges of the winemaking industry (e.g., global warming and changing customer demands), alternative Saccharomyces species have attracted researchers’ attention during the last decade as a poorly exploited resource of biodiversity. S. kudriavzevii and S. uvarum are two promising candidates because of their lower growth temperature, higher glycerol production and different aromatic profiles when compared to S. cerevisiae. However, the adaptive mechanisms of these species to their true ecological niches remain unexplored. In this thesis, entitled “Comparative genomics to unravel adaptive mechanisms in Saccharomyces” different molecular mechanisms involved in the adaptation of S. uvarum and S. kudriavzevii were identified, providing new insights into their evolutionary dynamics.

Laura Gutiérrez Macías’ thesis has been carried out at the Institute of Agrochemsitry and Food Technology (IATA, CSIC) under the supervision of Eladio Barrio Esparducer (Full Professor of Genetics at the Universitat de València, UV) and Christina Toft (CSIC Tenured Scientist, I2SysBio). During the development of this thesis Laura Gutiérrez Macías carried out a research stay at the Dr. László Nagy lab (Institute of Biochemistry, Hungarian Academy of Sciences). The examining board was formed by Mireia Coscollà Devís (I2SysBio), Marina Marcet Houben (Barcelona Supercomputing Centre), and Balázs Papp (Institute of Biochemistry, Hungarian Academy of Sciences), who graded the thesis as outstanding.