Groups - Lausanne - Functional Evolutionary Genomics (FEG) - H. Kaessmann
The Functional Evolutionary Genomics (FEG) group pursues integrated bioinformatics projects pertaining to the functional evolution of mammalian genomes on the basis of publicly available genomic data as well as various experimental data sets generated by the wet lab unit of the group.
Mammals are characterized by specific phenotypic traits that include lactation, hair, and relatively large brains with unique structures. Individual mammalian lineages have, in turn, evolved characteristic traits that distinguish them from others. These include obvious anatomical differences but also differences related to reproduction, life span, cognitive abilities, behavior, and disease susceptibility. The molecular changes (i.e., changes in protein/RNA sequences or expression levels) underlying these phenotypic shifts and the associated selective pressures have only recently begun to be investigated based on an increasing number of available mammalian genomes. The FEG group performs integrated bioinformatics analyses pertaining to the functional evolution of mammalian genes (and potentially associated phenotypic changes) on the basis of publicly available genomic data as well as data generated by the wet lab unit of the group (e.g., large-scale transcriptome data).
Projects and services
The FEG group has been interested in a range of topics related to the functional evolution of genomes from primates (e.g., emergence of new genes and their functions) and other mammals (e.g., the origin and evolution of mammalian sex chromosomes). In the framework of a new major line of projects in the lab, a large amount of qualitative and quantitative transcriptome data are being produced (by the wet lab unit of the group) for a unique collection of tissues from representative mammals using next generation sequencing technologies (RNA-Seq). Topics of current projects that are based on these data include the evolution of (1) gene expression levels, (2) alternative splicing, (3) microRNAs and their expression, (4) X chromosome dosage compensation, and (5) germ cell transcriptomes.
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