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Research Projects
RNA editing  |   Somatic Activity of Retrotransposons in Human  |   DNA editing of mammalian genomes  |   Alternative Splicing
DNA editing of mammalian genomes

DNA Editing of the Genome
The ability of retrotransposons to spread DNA fragments throughout the genome had an extremely important role in evolution and led to formation of new exons, genes, and gene regulation networks. However, the processes shaping the evolution and adaptation of retrotransposons are still unclear.

We showed that DNA editing, an antiviral mechanism, accelerated the evolution of mammalian genomes by large-scale modification of their retrotransposon. The modification is apparent as numerous extant retrotransposons bearing long clusters of G-to-A mutations, which are the hallmark of APOBEC3 activity, an antiviral protein. Since DNA editing generates a large number of mutations simultaneously, each affected element begins its evolutionary trajectory from a unique starting point, thereby increasing the probability of developing a novel function.

Our current research is focused on developing advanced statistical methods for systematic DNA editing detection, characterization of editing sites in human and other genomes and their role in evolution, and studying the effect of DNA editing on human variation. Structure, interaction and real-time monitoring of the enzymatic reaction of wild-type APOBEC3G, Furukawa et al., The EMBO Journal 28, 440 (2009).