Diego Perojil Morata 

PhD Project: Transposable elements as agents of evolution and adaptation following genome duplication

 

Collaborators:

Prof. Sigbjørn Lien & Dr Simen Sandve (CIGENE, Norwegian University of Life Sciences)

Postgraduate research

My PhD is funded jointly by the Norwegian Research Council and the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh. The project focuses on the role played by transposable elements in the evolution of development after a whole genome duplication (WGD) event, exploiting salmonid fishes as an ideal study system. An ancestor of salmonids underwent a WGD event around 95 Mya, which has been linked with lineage diversification and the evolution of complex life history traits, such as anadromy. Using comparative genomic analysis of multiple salmonid species and an outgroup that did not experience WGD, I will test the hypothesis that transposable elements have promoted species-specific developmental regulatory programmes.

Biography and previous work

Before my PhD, I studied Biological Sciences at The University of Aberdeen, where I graduated with a BSc in November 2018.  I completed an Honours research project on the role of whole genome duplication on evolutionary rescue, for which I developed an individual based model that compared diploid and tetraploid adaptation under a changing environmental parameter. This research project sparked my interest in genome evolution, with a focus on the evolutionary role of whole genome duplication.