BIG N2N seminar by Prof. Marek Mutwil: Gene module multiplication drives pathway expansion in plants

Feb
11
Feb/11 11:00
Jozef Schell seminar room UGent-VIB Research Building FSVM Technologiepark 927 B-9052 Zwijnaarde (Gent)
When: 
Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 11:00
Where: 

Jozef Schell seminar room
UGent-VIB Research Building FSVM
Technologiepark 927
B-9052 Zwijnaarde (Gent)

The survival of species depends on their ability to adapt to new environments. Adaptive innovations require genetic material, mainly provided by gene duplications, which can lead to new or alternative pathways. However, the principles behind the emergence of such pathways are not understood. Here, we show that approximately one third of the genes of a plant’s genome participate in hundreds of alternative pathways, which were primarily generated by single gene duplications. We determined the copy number of alternative pathways by searching for sets of genes, termed gene modules, that occur multiple times in gene co-function networks of eight plant species. We found that plants employ a genetic copy-and-paste principle to increase the number and diversity of gene modules. Our findings demonstrate that gene module multiplication has provided the capacity for plants to increase their repertoire of cellular functions.

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