The Cost of Silence: Evolution of Epigenetic Mechanisms in Nematodes and beyond
Transposable elements (TEs) are ubiquitous in eukaryotic genomes, where their ability to proliferate is a severe threat to genome stability. However, it is becoming clear that transposable element insertions have played important roles in genome evolution. Epigenetic silencing mechanisms that control TEs thus must strike a balance to protect the genome without completely stifling an important source of evolutionary novelty. We are using nematodes as a model system to understand how TEs and their control mechanisms combine to set the pace of evolutionary change. Here, I will present our recent work investigating how environmental stimuli regulate the Piwi-interacting small RNA (piRNA) pathway in C. elegans to establish transgenerational epigenetic effects. I will then present our analysis of the evolution of DNA methylation in nematodes, which reveals a surprising link between DNA repair and DNA methylation which holds true in mammalian cells and helping to explain why DNA methylation has been lost independently in many metazoan lineages.
If you would like to attend this seminar, please use the "Contact us" link below to express interest and arrange site access.
Dr Olivia Casanueva
The Brian Heap Seminar Room