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Molecular evolution of immune system genes in aquatic mammals: identifying molecular footprints of the colonization of new environment

Grant number: 17/14831-2
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): August 01, 2017
Effective date (End): January 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal researcher:Mariana Freitas Nery
Grantee:Bruna Cristina Dias
Home Institution: Instituto de Biologia (IB). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/18269-1 - Using comparative genomics to understand convergent evolution of mammals: tracking the molecular footprints of the marine and riverine environment colonisation, AP.JP
Associated scholarship(s):19/03568-4 - Investigating somatic hypermutation in the delta/gamma TCR chains in Trichechus manatus latirostris (Florida manatee), BE.EP.MS

Abstract

Recently, advances in sequencing and analytical methods enabled us to enter the age of Comparative Genomics, which has the potential to identify genes or genomic regions involved in certain adaptations, in a phylogenetic framework. Among all living forms, aquatic mammals emerge as an interesting group to study molecular evolution through comparative genomics because of the extensive changes experienced during their evolutionary histories in almost all of their systems, compared to terrestrial counterparts. The immune system was one of these systems that have suffered a great selective pressure during the colonization of the marine environment from a terrestrial ancestor, and later the second recolonization of fluvial waters, as they faced different pathogens in those environments. There are several genes and gene families related to the immune system, such as the TLR gene family, the MHC gene family, the TCR gene family, Rag1 and Rag2 genes. These genes are known to play key roles in the activation of the vertebrate immune system, and their genetic diversity are important to the host's ability to adapt to rapidly evolving infectious agents. In this context, this project aims to study the molecular evolution of these mentioned genes and gene families related to immunity, focusing on aquatic mammals (cetaceans and sirenians) that independently carried out colonization of freshwater or saltwater environments in order to understand the molecular processes behind the occupation of new environments. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DIAS, BRUNA C.; NERY, MARIANA F. Analyses of RAG1 and RAG2 genes suggest different evolutionary rates in the Cetacea lineage. Molecular Immunology, v. 117, p. 131-138, JAN 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.

Please report errors in scientific publications list by writing to: cdi@fapesp.br.