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Genomic Scale Analysis of Lateral Gene Transfer in Apicomplexan Parasites: insights into early eukaryotic evolution, host-pathogen interaction and drug target development
Lucia Peixoto, David Roos
University of Pennsylvania, United States

The phylum Apicomplexa comprises >5000 species, including Toxoplasma gondii and Plasmodium parasites responsible for malaria.  Lateral Gene Transfer (LGT) is believed to have been an important force driving apicomplexan evolution. Whole genome phylogenetic analyses for T.gondii and P.falciparum were performed; results suggest LGT as a prominent force in parasite evolution.

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Changes in Transcriptional Enhancer Activity of the Second-Fastest Evolving Human Genomic Region
Courtney Onodera, Sara Sowko, Bryan King, Armen Shamamian, Matthew Weirauch, Sofie Salama, David Haussler
University of California, Santa Cruz, United States

We demonstrate the second-fastest-evolving human genomic region, HAR2, exhibits transcriptional enhancer activity in mouse embryonic stem cells given a luciferase reporter; further, the chimpanzee and human versions show differing activities. We attempt to reconstitute human-like activity in chimpanzee HAR2 with site-directed mutagenesis informed by transcription factor binding site analysis.

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