The role of natural transposable element insertions in stress response

4:00pm - 5:00pm / Tuesday 26th March 2019 / Venue: LT1 Life Sciences Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Research / Series: BEEM Seminar
  • Suitable for: Staff and students with an interest in Behaviour, Evolution, Ecology and Microbiology
  • Admission: Free
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Speaker: Josefa Gonzalez (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Transposable elements are ubiquitous, abundant, and active components of genomes. Although most of the mutations caused by transposable elements are likely deleterious or neutral, adaptive mutations caused by transposable elements have also been identified. Our lab focuses on elucidating the role of transposable elements in adaptation at a genome-wide scale. We have used a computational pipeline to estimate population frequencies of reference transposable elements in 303 individual genome sequences and 83 pool-sequenced samples, collected from 60 worldwide natural Drosophila melanogaster populations. Taking into account the age and length of the insertions, and the evidence of selection in their flanking regions, we identified a subset of 300 polymorphic TEs likely to play a role in adaptation. Interestingly, a proportion of these insertions are located nearby stress-related genes. We thus investigated the role of transposable element insertions in adding transcription factor binding sites related to six stress responses. We are currently generating new Drosophila melanogaster reference genomes from several European populations to extend our analysis to non-reference transposable elements.