Life with more than one genome

Where/When/Accessibility? - Lecture - Other lectures


Tuesday February 4, 2020 - 7pm-8pm: lecture, followed by reception
Faculty of Sciences - Campus Sterre - Krijgslaan 281 - Gent - building S9 - 2nd floor - Auditorium A2 - An elevator is available in the building.
You can easily reach the campus by bike, bus and train. The campus is situated on walking distance from railway station Gent-Sint-Pieters.
Should you prefer to come by car you can park on the campus on the night of the lecture until 10pm. Simply drive up close to the barriers and they will open.


Prof. Yves Van de Peer - Department Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics - Research Group Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Genomics

When we go into the field, we can find thousands of species, both plants and animals, that are polyploid, and contain multiple copies of their genome. On the other hand, the long-term establishment of organisms that have undergone ancient whole genome duplications (WGDs) has been exceedingly rare. Indeed, when we analyse the genomes of plants and animals, we can, at most, find evidence for a very limited number of WGDs that survived on the longer term. The apparent paucity of (established) ancient genome duplications and the existence of so many species that are currently polyploid provides an interesting and fascinating paradox.

There is growing evidence that the majority of ancient genome duplications were established at very specific times in evolution, for instance during periods of environmental change, ecological upheaval, or periods of mass-extinction. Our previous work has for instance shown that many WGD events have coincided with the most recent major mass extinction, i.e. the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction, 66 million years ago. This finding suggests that stressful environmental conditions might increase the likelihood of polyploid establishment, a hypothesis that is gaining importance and has already fostered much new research.

I will discuss the many examples of known WGD events and how they might have facilitated or have been responsible for the evolution of major lineages of organisms such as vertebrates, fishes, flowering plants, grasses and orchids.


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Other lectures

This lecture forms part of a larger series organized within the scope of Public Outreach. In this manner we give you a taste of research conducted at the Faculty of Sciences. View the full program for 2019-2020.

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