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Transposable elements, Evolution, Populations Group

Crédit photo: Maximilien Gonçalves-Martins

It is now well established that the genome of living organisms consists in a major proportion of moderately and highly repetitive sequences, which can move along chromosomes. These sequences, called transposable elements (TE), have seriously changed previous ideas on genome stability. In Drosophila, TEs contribute to around 15% of the genome (the number of different families is estimated to be at least 80) and are responsible for 50-85% of the observed spontaneous mutations. In humans, they represent more than 45% of the genome but are responsible for only 1-2% of mutations. It is thus admitted that TEs have had, and still have, a major influence in the creation of variability required for the adaptation of populations and the evolution of species. The difference in the number of mutations due to TEs between human and Drosophila clearly shows the existence of different mechanisms that control invasiveness and mutagenicity. How genomes and populations regulate the activity of these elements is then one of the most fundamental questions of population genetics and functional genomics. Our research consists in the study of the impact of TEs in the evolution of genomes and populations. The research themes are developed with combined approaches of bioinformatics and molecular biology.


Cristina Vieira

Emmanuelle Lerat is a CNRS researcher interested in the study of the functional role of TEs in eukaryotic genomes using comparative genomics and bioinformatics approaches. She has an expertize in the identification of TEs in genome sequences, but also in the evolutionary analyses of the TE sequences.

Marie Fablet is assistant professor. She is interested in TE dynamics between and within species, using Drosophila as a model, and in TE epigenetic regulation via small RNAs.

Annabelle Haudry is Assistant Professor in Evolutionary Genomics. She is particularly interested in questions such as how neutral forces and natural selection are interacting to drive gene and genome evolution and population diversity patterns.

Matthieu Boulesteix : Matthieu is an assistant professor in the group. He is interested in TEs dynamics in expanding populations and the use of TEs as population genetics markers to detect the footprint of selection in genomes (in mosquitoes in particular).