University of Cambridge > > Genetics Seminar  > Chromosomal evolution in Nematodes, and other adventures on the Tree of Life

Chromosomal evolution in Nematodes, and other adventures on the Tree of Life

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  • UserProfessor Mark Blaxter, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Hinxton, Cambridge
  • ClockThursday 28 May 2020, 14:00-15:00
  • HouseZoom meeting.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Caroline Newnham.

Host: Richard Durbin

In the Tree of Life programme at the Wellcome Sanger Institute we have embarked on a large scale mission to assist in the sequencing of the genomes of all the planet’s biodiversity. Our focus is on eukaryotes (of all flavours – Metazoa, Plantae, Fungi and the polyphyletic “protists”). We are using long read (Pacific Biosciences, Oxford Nanopore) and long range (HiC, 10X genomics, BioNano) to generate very high quality assemblies – wherever possible resolving to chromosomal molecules. We have two major current projects. The Wellcome-funded Darwin Tree iof Life project is a collaboration with nine other organisations that aims to deliver the genomes of all species in Britain and Ireland. The Moore Foundation Aquatic Symbiosis project, just starting, will collaborate globally to deliver genomes for a wide range of symbiont associations. I will introduce our aims and methods and illustrate the kinds of data we intend to produce with some of our already-completed genomes. To show what can be learnt from such chromosomal assemblies I will use an analysis of chromosomally-complete genomes from across the Rhabditida, the order of nematodes that includes Caenorhabditis elegans. While the karyotype of these nematodes is relatively stable, we can describe a dynamic pattern of fission, fusion and within chromosome rearrangement. The chromosome involved in sex determination (most species are XX:X0 female:male, some are X:Y) can be traced by the presence of a set of genes that are always on the X, but the sex chromosomes are frequently involved in fusion and fission events. We anticipate similar findings, where chromosomally-complete genomes permit resolution of complex patterns across the tree of life.

This talk is part of the Genetics Seminar series.

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