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Bioc Special Seminar Series – Dr Nathan Kenny

January 27, 2021 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
St David Seminar Room B

Dr Nathan Kenny, Oxford Brookes University:

The freshwater sponge Ephydatia muelleri: a new tool for tracing genome evolution across the animal tree of life.

Genomes of non-bilaterians are vital for understanding the evolution of animal multicellularity and the origin of the first metazoan-specific cell types. However, within the non-bilaterian metazoans, such as sponges, ctenophores and cnidarians, only a handful of genomes have been sequenced, and most are too fragmented to allow firm inference of the genomic characters of the earliest animals. To address this longstanding problem, we sequenced and analyzed the 326 Mb genome of the freshwater sponge Ephydatia muelleri to high contiguity, capturing its 23 chromosomes on 24 scaffolds.

E. Mueller has a metazoan-typical genome architecture, highly shared synteny with chordates, and representative levels of DNA methylation. E. Mueller is also a widespread, highly practical model system. Its well-assembled genome and ready utility as a model allows testing of hypotheses about gene duplication and adaptation to novel conditions, as well as providing a firm anchor for exploring the genomic evolution of animal life.

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