Microbial Evolutionary Genomics, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Eduardo Rocha is a senior scientist at CNRS, head of the Microbial Evolutionary Genomics lab at Pasteur Institute. He studies how natural selection for interactions between molecular systems and the DNA drives genome organization, and how the latter is challenged by genome dynamics resulting from selection for diversification and innovation.
Evolutionary processes are typically described as the result of mutation, recombination, descent and selection. Many microbes lack sexual reproduction but have the ability to acquire genetic information from very distantly related organisms. Horizontal gene transfer allows the instantaneous acquisition of new complex adaptive traits and their transmission to subsequent generations. This speeds up evolutionary processes as exemplified by the acquisition of virulence traits in emerging infectious agents and by antibiotic resistance in most human bacterial pathogens. In this seminar, I’ll describe how bacteria control and organize the influx of novel genetic information, and how this results not only in the spread of adaptive functions, but also on radical functional innovation.
Host: Daniel Tamarit (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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