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Satellite DNA evolution illuminated by high-throughput satellitome analyses of related species

Glavni istraživač

Projekti Hrvatske zaklade za znanost
Iznos financiranja
999 100
Datum početka
Datum završetka

Zavod za molekularnu biologiju


Tandemly repeated DNA sequences, known as satellite DNAs (satDNAs), constitute significant portions of eukaryotic genomes, being usually located in genetically silent heterochromatin. SatDNA biological relevance has been disregarded for decades mostly due to their non-coding character, but it is coming to light that these sequences play important roles in centromere structure, chromatin remodelling, speciation processes, as well as in tumorigenesis. Repetitiveness of satDNAs, that impedes contiguous sequence assemblies, has kept them underrepresented in genome project outputs. Recently, however, high-throughput sequencing accompanied by specialized computational tools has revolutionized satDNA studies enabling discovery of a whole set of satDNAs in a genome, named a satellitome. The main goal of this project is to investigate the satellitomes in two groups of invertebrates: (i) beetles of the genus Tribolium, characterized by highly abundant satDNAs located in large heterochromatic chromosomal domains, and (ii) bivalve species, known to have low satDNA contribution and chromosomes mostly devoid of large heterochromatic blocks. By engaging Illumina and PacBio sequencing combined with experimental methods to study satellitomes of eight species, our work addresses: (i) shared and species-specific satDNAs, (ii) satDNA sequence dynamics and chromosomal distribution in the analysed satellitomes, (iii) sequential patterns of satellite repeats, (iv) existence and conservation of potentially functional motifs in satDNA sequences, and (v) satDNA similarities and association with transposable elements (TEs). By comprehensive surveys of satDNA concepts in two different invertebrate groups and ensuing data interlacing, we expect to further current ideas about satDNA structure and evolution, including the life-cycle, origin and destiny of satellite repeats, links between satDNAs and TEs, as well as possible mechanisms involved in the formation and spread of tandem repeats.

MODEL ORGANISMS used in the project


Positions available

PhD position available

The project is funded by Croatian Science foundation

Ostali suradnici

Miroslav Plohl, PhD, IRB

Eva Šatović, PhD; IRB

Tanja Vojvoda Zeljko, PhD, IRB

Monika Tunjić Cvitanić, IRB

Tena Gržan, IRB

Juan J. Pasantes, PhD, University of Vigo

Daniel García Souto, PhD, University of Vigo

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