Lynn Ly Rose Hills
Redundancy Post Gene-Duplication in Moss EMF2
Gene duplication is a driving force in evolution – the genetic redundancy created by a gene duplication event can enable one gene copy to rapidly accumulate mutations and take on new functions, while the other copy performs the original function. Previous studies suggest that large-scale genome duplication closely preceded major evolutionary events such as the divergence of vertebrates, but the exact occurrences and evolutionary consequences of gene duplication have yet to be fully understood. The model moss Physcomitrella patens contains three homologs of the gene EMF2, which appear to have been recently duplicated in a lineage specific manner. I will be investigating the functional importance of each of the EMF2 genes by characterizing single and multiple mutant phenotypes and examining EMF2 protein expression patterns throughout development, focusing on spatial and temporal redundancies. Studying these genes will provide insight into how gene duplication in epigenetic regulators can lead to both novel protein function and novel regulation of gene expression, and how these changes impact evolution.