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Genomics of the longest lived mammal

This week the genome and transcriptome of the Bowhead whale was published in the journal Cell reports. For more please see our publications page for the pdf or click here This work was carried out by Dr Andrew Webb (first author) and Dr Mary O’Connell in collaboration with an international team of experts and was led by…

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A matter of Taste

“Evolution of sweet taste perception in hummingbirds by transformation of the ancestral umami receptor” Baldwin et al Science 2014   Why study birds to understand sensory perception? Birds are a group of therapod dinosaurs that evolved during the mid Mesozoic era (~150 million years ago). They represent one of the most diverse extant vertebrate clades…

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A phylogenetic approach to test for evidence of parental conflict or gene duplications associated with protein-encoding imprinted orthologous genes in placental mammals

There are multiple theories on the evolution of genomic imprinting. We investigated whether the molecular evolution of true orthologs of known imprinted genes provides support for theories based on gene duplication or parental conflicts (where mediated by amino-acid changes). Our analysis of 34 orthologous genes demonstrates that the vast majority of mammalian imprinted genes have…

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Functional consequence of positive selection revealed through rational mutagenesis of human myeloperoxidase

Myeloperoxidase (MPO) is a member of the mammalian heme peroxidase (MHP) multigene family. Whereas all MHPs oxidize specific halides to generate the corresponding hypohalous acid, MPO is unique in its capacity to oxidize chloride at physiologic pH to produce hypochlorous acid (HOCl), a potent microbicide that contributes to neutrophil-mediated host defense against infection.

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Arabidopsis thaliana codon volatility scores reflect GC3 composition rather than selective pressure

Synonymous codon usage bias has typically been correlated with, and attributed to translational efficiency. However, there are other pressures on genomic sequence composition that can affect codon usage patterns such as mutational biases. This study provides an analysis of the codon usage patterns in Arabidopsis thaliana in relation to gene expression levels, codon volatility, mutational…

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Colon Cancer Genes Exhibit Signatures of Positive Selection at Functionally Important Sites

Cancer, much like most human disease, is routinely studied by utilizing model organisms. Of these model organisms, mice are often dominant. However, our assumptions of functional equivalence fail to consider the opportunity for divergence conferred by ~180 Million Years (MY) of independent evolution between these species. For a given set of human disease related genes,…

We are always looking for collaborators and new people to come and work with us. Please get in contact if you are interested in what we do: m.oconnell@leeds.ac.uk