A jumping gene perspective on the speciation and genome evolution of flycatchers

Late Lunch Talk by Alexander Suh from the Uppsala University, Sweden

The four black-and-white species of Ficedula flycatchers are a well-established avian model for the study of genomic differentiation between populations and species. However, not much is known about the dynamics of transposable elements (TEs), “jumping genes” which move within host genomes and constitute genomic parasites, during speciation. Here I will present recent and ongoing work on the evolutionary impact of TEs on bird speciation. TE copies accumulate differentially on different avian chromosomes, with extreme densities on the non-recombining, female-specific W chromosome. Furthermore, although bird genomes are relatively TE-poor, comparative analysis of 200 re-sequenced flycatcher genomes suggests a variety of TE activity during recent flycatcher evolution. Together, this implies that the non-coding regions of avian genomes are much more dynamic than previously anticipated, and shaped by frequent exposure to parasitic genes.
Published Oct. 27, 2015 1:12 PM - Last modified Oct. 27, 2015 1:12 PM