Intragenomic conflict in Drosophila: meiotic drive and satellite DNA

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Watson CIT - SWIG Boardroom (CIT241)

Dr. Amanda Larracuente
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology - University of Rochester

Intragenomic conflict in Drosophila: meiotic drive and satellite DNA

 Meiotic drivers subvert the fairness of meiosis to bias their transmission to the next generation while often causing some harm to their hosts. These selfish genetic elements create conflict in the genome. The topic of this talk involves one of the most well studied meiotic drive systems—Segregation Distorter (SD) of Drosophila melanogaster. SD is an autosomal selfish gene complex that kills wild type sperm bearing sensitive alleles of its target—a large block of pericentromeric satellite repeats called Responder. Sperm die through a post-meiotic defect in chromatin condensation. We will discuss the conflict surrounding SD from two perspectives: the origin and evolution of the selfish gene complex and the evolution of the target. We use methods in short and long read sequencing to study the structure of, and patterns of variation in, SD and Responder. These techniques also make it possible to study Responder activity, which may lend insight into the molecular mechanism of drive.

Hosted by Erica Larschan