University of Cambridge > > Evolution and Development Seminar Series > Bdelloid rotifers: unveiling the mystery of an evolutionary scandal

Bdelloid rotifers: unveiling the mystery of an evolutionary scandal

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Bdelloid rotifers are small aquatic invertebrates mainly famous for their ability to survive harsh environmental conditions, like extreme water loss or ionizing radiation, and for their status as ancient asexuals. Different explanations have been suggested to account for their extreme resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses, but the recent publications of their transcriptome and draft genome point to a previously unforeseen mechanism. As many as 10% of their active genes have been acquired by horizontal gene transfer from other organisms which are not direct ancestors, and at least some of them are likely to participate to stress response strategies. I will explore bdelloids’ unusual characteristics and our most recent findings to support this idea, and link them to our current understanding of evolution.

This talk is part of the Evolution and Development Seminar Series series.

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