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Project: Gene duplicability and gene expression changes following gene and genome duplication

2018-10-01 – 2021-09-30


Gene and genome duplications are important processes that lead to novel functions and an overall increase in biological complexity. Hence, which genes undergo duplication and are preserved following duplication is an important question. It has been observed that genes in certain functional categories are more amenable to survive duplication events than others. Although
gene duplicate retention may be explained by various types of selection as well as by neutral evolution, it has been suggested that changes in gene expression could be linked, or even could be a prerequisite, for the retention of duplicated genes. However, how changes in gene expression
following duplication would affect the retention of duplicated genes (i.e. duplicability) remains unknown. Because genes with different duplicabilities may show different changes in expression in response to duplications, the proposed research proposal aims at better understanding the link
between changes in gene expression and gene duplicability following gene and genome duplication. We will make use of a large collection of omics datasets in angiosperms to pinpoint the evolutionary forces that apply to duplicated genes. We believe that obtaining a deep understanding in a widespread and important evolutionary process such as gene duplication will
improve our knowledge of the role of duplication in evolution and its impacts on (plant) fitness, adaptation, and survival.