Publications

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Of mice and men

Super treat in the lab this week.  The journal Science decided to feature one of our publications in its “Editor’s Choice” section.  The author of the little piece is Laura Zahn and she chose to feature the work, which was published in Molecular Biology and Evolution.   It is always a real thrill to have work…

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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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Selection and the cell cycle: Positive Darwinian Selection in a well-known DNA damage response pathway

Cancer is a common occurrence in multi-cellular organisms and is not strictly limited to the elderly in a population. It is therefore possible that individuals with genotypes that protect against early onset cancers have a selective advantage. In this study the patterns of mutation in the proteins of a well-studied DNA damage response pathway have been examined…

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A case-by-case analysis of imprinted retrogenes

Retroposition is a widespread phenomenon resulting in the generation of new genes that are initially related to a parent gene via very high coding sequence similarity. We examine the evolutionary fate of four retrogenes generated by such an event; mouse Inpp5f_v2, Mcts2, Nap1l5, and U2af1-rs1. These genes are all subject to the epigenetic phenomenon of parental imprinting. We first…

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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