Desembaraçando a diversidade genômica de pequenos eucariotos

quarta-feira, dezembro 30, 2009

Unraveling the genomic diversity of small eukaryotes

Gilles Fischer1, Dawn Thompson2, Jennifer Russo Wortman3 and Cécile Fairhead4

1 Microorganism Genomics, UPMC/CNRS FRE3214, Paris, France

2 Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

3 Institute for Genome Sciences, University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA

4 Institut de Génétique et Microbiologie, Université Paris Sud 11, CNRS UMR8621, Orsay, France

author email corresponding author email

Genome Biology 2009, 10:318doi:10.1186/gb-2009-10-12-318

Published: 22 December 2009
Subject areas: Evolution, Microbiology and parasitology, Genome studies


A report of the meeting Comparative Genomics of Eukaryotic Microorganisms, 17-22 October 2009, San Feliu de Guixols, Spain.

The first meeting in a new series of EMBO meetings aimed at bringing together those working on genome-enabled research encompassing the great diversity of eukaryotic microorganisms was held recently in Spain. New technology such as high-throughput sequencing now allows less well studied eukaryotic microbes to come into the limelight, providing some fascinating glimpses into the eukaryotic world that lies outside multicellular plants and animals. Some of the highlights of the meeting are presented here.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, the meeting opened with ‘The Darwin Lecture’ delivered by Bernard Dujon (Institut Pasteur, Paris, France), who highlighted the fact that our current knowledge of eukaryotic genomes is highly biased towards the two supergroups of Unikonts (the animals and fungi) and Plantae (red and green algae and plants) and to a lesser extent towards the Chromalveolates (ciliates, brown algae, diatoms, and dinoflagellates, for example). Dujon pointed out the need for more genomics data representing the other two eukaryotic supergroups - the Excavata (which contains some important parasites of humans) and the Rhizaria (the pseudopodial amoeboids) - to foster a clearer understanding of eukaryotic diversity. A spectacular illustration of this diversity was presented by Gertraud Burger (University of Montreal, Canada), whose research on the mitochondrial genome of diplonemids (members of the Excavates) has shown that each core gene is split into several small modules scattered across multiple circular chromosomes. The concatenation of these modules occurs at the RNA level via an unusual trans-splicing mechanism, along with RNA editing at the junctions, in order to reconstruct a full transcript of each gene.