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Research teams

Marine genomics
Team Leader: Assistant Professor Carlos Canchaya (canchaya@uvigo.es)
Assistant Professor Carlos Canchaya’s Marine Genomics Team is assembling and comparing different mollusk genomes in order to understand their functional adaptation.
 

Speciation genomics
Team Leader: Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellow Iria Fernández-Silva (irfernandez@uvigo.es)
Iria Fernández-Silva’s Speciation genomics group is trying to answer key evolutionary questions pertaining the evolution of marine fishes.
 

Phylogenomics
Team leader: Professor David Posada  (dposada@uvigo.es)
Professor David Posada’s Evolutionary Genomics Team uses genomic information to try to understand the evolution of different species and cancer cells.
 

Mobile genomes and disease
Team Leader: Ramon y Cajal fellow Jose M. C. Tubio (jmctubio@uvigo.es)
Jose Tubío’s Mobile genomes and disease is interested in the impact of genomic structural variation on the function of eukaryotic genomes and in the drivers of clonally transmissible cancers
 


Current projects

Cancer phylogeography
phylocancer-jpgERC

islandThe evolution of cancer tumors in a body can be likened with the evolution of populations in more or less fragmented habitats. During tumor progression, this population of cells is subject to distinct somatic evolutionary processes like mutation, drift, selection or migration, which can act at different points in time and geographical space. So far evolutionary inferences drawn from cancer genomes have been mostly qualitative. We aim to construct a robust theoretical and methodological evolutionary framework that can contribute to a better understanding of the process of somatic evolution and shed light into the biology of cancer.

 

Phylogenomic estimation of species trees

The estimation of species trees from genomic data is an open problem that goes beyond concatenating many genes and estimating a single tree, and distinct phenomena can explain the disagreement between gene trees and species history. We are currently working on phylHypselodoris_cantabricaogenetic models of genome evolution able to consider lineage sorting, gene duplication and loss and horizontal gene transfer. At the same time, we are developing a practical computational approach for selecting the best partition for multi-gene data sets (i.e., considering genomic heterogeneity) and comparing distinct phylogenomic strategies.

 

NGS phylogeography of closely related genomes

Our understanding of the mechanisms of evolution at the genomic level is being transformed by the current explosion of massive sequencing of non-model organisms. Together with Rafael Zardoya and colleaguesPSS536ConusGloriamaris54mmFcaughtin50metersdeepsandyandrockyBeniisalnd150gramsSupernicecolorshell152 we are using RNA-seq to obtain a large number of homologous loci from a set of marine snail species, a recent radiation of the genus Trovaoconus endemic from the Cape Verde islands. With Jesus Troncoso at the University of Vigo we are studying different aspects of transcriptomic evolution and using these data to decipher the role of incomplete lineage sorting and gene duplication on the rapid evolution of related genomes. Currently we are focusing in the genus Elysia and Hypselodoris.

 

Mussel genome

mussel

We are currently working on the de novo genome and transcriptome sequencing of the marine bivalve Mytilus galloprovincialisusing NGS technologies. Mussel is a very common and commercially important bivalve in the coasts of Galicia and there is a lot of local research around it. This work is done in collaboration with Antonio Figueras and Beatriz Novoa lab at the Institute of Marine Research (CSIC) in Vigo, and with the CNAG in Barcelona.

 

The Fish Speciation Genome Project

This is a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the genomic architecture of lineage divergence and the role of gene flow in speciation in reef fishes. We also aim to investigate the prevalence of hybridization and genomic introgression in coral reef fishes and its consequences for the calibration of molecular clocks and phylogeographic inference. This project is funded by a European Union People Marie Curie Action to Dr. Iria Fernandez-Silva (2013-2016) and is a partnership between the California Academy of Sciences and the University of Vigo. More info at http://www.calacademy.org/scientists/projects/fishspeciationgenome-research-project

 

Structural variation in cancer development
The main focus of this research is the impact of genomic structural variation (especially retrotransposition) on the function of eukaryotic genomes, and its role in disease (especially cancer), participating in the Pancancer Initiative of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and the Cancer Genome Atlas  (TCGA), to investigate the mechanisms of coevolution between TEs and cancer.

 

Identification of drivers of cancer transmissibility in clonally transmissible cancers
These are cancers that are transmitted between individuals by direct transfer of living cancer cells.