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Gene Regulation in Evolution: From Molecular to Extended Phenotypes

Phenotypic variation between individuals and species is largely driven by differences in gene expression and arises from, among other things, natural selection. Gene expression is regulated via sequence- and non-sequenced-based mechanisms, including cis-regulatory DNA elements, transcription factors, non-coding RNAs, DNA methylation, histone modifications, and other posttranscriptional and posttranslational processes. The relative contribution of these factors in gene regulatory networks as well as the processes underlying their evolution are, so far, poorly understood.
The scientific aim of GenEvo is to gain a better understanding of the evolution of complex and multi-layered gene regulatory systems. We will investigate which regulatory processes are evolutionarily conserved, which are prone to change and which selective regimes they underlie. By transferring methods developed for model species to other taxa, we will study gene regulatory evolution in a broader intra- and interspecific context. Some projects will even focus on the coevolution of gene regulation, by revealing how interacting species interfere with each other’s gene regulation. 

Information about individual projects: