Ultimate screening of wild barley genomes for panicoid DNA: a further step towards delimiting the foreign-ome in Hordeum

01/2022 - 12/2024
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Principle investigator
The pangenome is a set of all genes present in a given taxon. Besides core genes, a variable part of genes may be acquired from other taxa via horizontal gene transfer (HGT), potentially providing the recipient with an evolutionary benefit. The extent of acquisitions of foreign DNA, their stability and transmission to future generations, and the evolutionary consequences of HGT are almost unknown in plants. Hordeum (Pooideae) is a suitable model to investigate these processes. Species of sect. Stenostachys obtained foreign DNA, including protein-coding genes, from diverse panicoid grasses (Panicoideae) via at least nine independent HGTs. The aim of the project is to reveal the extent and nature of foreign DNA derived from panicoid grasses in Hordeum using whole-genome sequencing and subsequent bioinformatic and cytogenetic analyses. The characterization of panicoid DNA in Hordeum will help to elucidate the mechanisms of horizontal transfer, the evolution and dynamics of foreign DNA in host genomes, and the role of foreign protein-coding genes in the evolution of sect. Stenostachys.