22/04/2015 - 12:00 - Auditori PRBB

Evolutionary assembly of tissue-specific exon networks

Scientific sessions, CRG Group Leader Seminars

Manuel Irimía

Transcriptomics of Vertebrate Development and Evolution Group, Systems Biology Programme, CRG

Short Biography

Manuel Irimia obtained his PhD in 2010 at the University of Barcelona investigating the origin of vertebrates. After two postdocs at Stanford University and University of Toronto, he joined the CRG in June 2014. His lab is interested in understanding the roles that transcriptomic diversification, especially through alternative splicing, plays on vertebrate development and evolution. 


Novel organismal structures in metazoans are often undergirded by complex cell type- or tissue-specific gene regulatory networks. As such, understanding the emergence of new structures through evolution requires reconstructing the series of evolutionary steps leading to these underlying networks. However, the basic elements that form these networks are often so functionally interdependent that understanding their step-by-step emergence during evolution imposes multiple dilemmas: Did the gene network pre-exist the organismal structure? Did the targets pre-exist the tissue-specific regulators? Did the regulators ancestrally have tissue-specific expression or did they acquire it in certain lineages? Are the downstream targets conserved in the case of regulators with well-conserved expression across species? Using alternative exons and their master regulators as case examples, we are trying to answer these questions by reconstructing the stepwise assembly of various tissue-specific splicing networks.