On rapid and repeated evolution via transcriptional cooption and decay
Friday seminar by Arnar Pálsson from University of Iceland
The function and evolution of gene regulatory mechanisms and networks has implications for development, diseases and ecology. In this talk I will describe our work on transcriptional evolution, drawing on studies in two systems. I will outline population genetic, morphometric and transcriptomic analyses of parallel evolution of recently evolved dwarfism and associated phenotypes in Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus). Secondly I will focus on naturally occuring deletions of transcription factor bindings sites in characterized enhancers of the even-skipped gene in Drosophila melanogaster. Lastly I will outline musings about general principles of evolution by gene recruitment and transcriptional decay, and predictions that follow.
Previously we mapped QTL/QTN affecting wing shape in Drosophila and studied the effects of evolutionary divergence in regulatory elements on viability and the spatial and temporal quantity of gene expression in embryos. After moving to Iceland I did GWAS analyses in humans (at Decode genetics) and have recently entered a collaboration to develop a new system (Arctic charr) for studies on the role of chance and necessity in the evolution of regulatory and developmental diversity.