CORDIS - EU research results

Genome Sciences - Evolutionary And Functional Perspective

Final Report Summary - EVOLGEN (Genome Sciences - Evolutionary And Functional Perspective)

The main objectives of the project is to bring together European and Japanese partners whose main interest is in comparative and evolutionary genomics. The genome science is one of the youngest biological disciplines developing dynamically and heavily dependent on technology. This requires collaborative work of experts with different background. Our teams are focused on functional and evolutionary analyses of different genomes. Objectives of the EVOLGEN project are two fold. On one hand using our complementary expertise we want to push forward our specific research projects. On the other hand we want to complement our students education through work in the partner institutions. Each of the labs involved in this collaboration has a unique, yet complementary expertise. By visiting different labs both early career scientists and experienced ones will significantly improve their skills and expertise. They will also benefit tremendously from visits of senior scientists in partner labs.

The three work packages reflect common research interest of all involved parties, namely functional and evolutionary genomics. The specific objectives include functional study of retrogenes in different genomes ranging from algae to mammals. Another objective of this project is to study rare, so called U12-type introns, which require a special spliceosome to be processed. We are especially interested in their phylogenetic distribution and their involvement in alternative splicing. Yet another objective of the project is to study genomes and transcriptomes of unicellular eukaryotes.

Several milestones have been achieved so far. Development of an analytical pipeline for retrogenes identification resulted in annotation of over 600,000 retrogenes in 62 animal genomes ( Furthermore, two green algal genomes has been scanned for retrogenes to determine those potentially involved in multicellularity origins. Study of U12-type introns in vertebrates lead to discovery of a large set of twintrons, i.e. alternatively spliced introns processed by two different spliceosomes at the same time. Our massive transcriptome sequencing of amoeba species set up the stage for comparative transcriptome analysis of these environmentally diverged uni-cellular organisms. The EVOLGEN collaboration resulted in eleven per-review publications and a number of presentations at the international conferences.