Center for Theoretical Evolutionary Genomics
Center for Computational Biology
Department of Integrative Biology
University of California, Berkeley
Host: Oliver Hobert
Title: Sex chromosomes, chromatin sinks and sex-specific aging
Abstract: Sex chromosomes differ from autosomes at their genome, transcriptome, and epigenome, yet the X and Y share a common evolutionary origin. The Drosophila Y chromosome is gene-poor, repeat-rich and associated with silencing heterochromatin. The X, in contrast, is enriched for activating chromatin marks and hyper-transcribed (i.e. dosage compensated). In my seminar, I will discuss how species with very recently evolved sex chromosomes allow us to recapitulate how both dosage compensation and heterochromatin formation evolve at the molecular level, and I will highlight the importance of repetitive elements both as facilitators of regulatory evolution, and also their role in gene silencing and heterochromatin formation. Finally, I will discuss the genomic burden imposed by repetitive elements on their hosts, and how the repeat-rich Y chromosome acts as a chromatin sink, and contributes to sex-specific phenotypes, including faster aging in males.
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