Whole Genome Duplication
Phylogenetic analyses have revealed strong evidence for ancient nuclear genome duplication events, including three rounds of duplication that affected vertebrate animals. Due to the redundancy in gene structure and function, many duplicates are lost during the process of re-diploidization. However, the duplicates that are retained provide opportunity for rapid evolution and generation of novel phenotypes. We apply comparative genomics to investigate the consequences of natural selection on genes retained after whole genome duplication (ohnologs).
NUclear MiTochondrial DNA (NUMTs)
The mitochondrial genome is a relict of an ancient symbiosis between an alpha-proteobacterium and an uncharacterized lineage within archaea. A majority of the alpha-proteobactial genome was later transferred to the arhchael genome, and now only vestiges remain in the form of mitochondrial DNA. The transfer of genetic material from the mitochondrion to the nucleus can be studied at multiple temporal scales, and our lab investigates this process as it occurs during the lifespan. Previous work by the LAQE lab has demonstrated the importance of NUMTification in colorectal cancer, and ongoing research is aimed at determining the effect on senescence.