14/09/2016 - 12:00 - Sala Marie Curie

The paradox of correlations. Transcription without histone modifications

Scientific sessions, CRG Group Leader Seminars

Roderic Guigó

Computational Biology of RNA Processing Group, Bioinformatics and Genomics Programme, CRG


Roderic Guigó obtained his phD from the Universitat de Barcelona in 1988. He worked at the Department of Statistics, where under the supervision of Dr. Jordi Ocaña, he worked in the development of mathematical and computer models in Population Genetics and Evolutionary Ecology. After his PhD, he joined the Molecular Biology Computer Research Resource at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute--- Harvard University (Division of Biostatistics), where he was a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Temple F. Smith. In late 1991, he moved to the BioMolecular Engineering Research Center at Boston University, when Temple Smith was named director. During these years, he was involved in several projects in the field of sequence analysis: gene identification, automatic knowledge extraction from biosequence databases, protein sequence pattern analysis, and molecular evolution.

On Spring 1992, he moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group with Dr. James W. Fickett. At Los Alamos he worked on genome analysis related problems: estimation of genome's protein coding density, and characterization of large scale genome structure. In 1994 he joined the Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica, within the Grup de Recerca en Informàtica Biomèdica (GRIB), coordinated by Dr. Ferran Sanz. From 1994 to 1999, he was associated professor at the Universitat of Barcelona, and since 1999, at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. In 2005, he joined the Centre de Regulació Genòmica in Barcelona, where he coordinates the Bionformatics and Genomics Program. He is also a Professor of Bioinformatics at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Author of over 200 publications, he is a leading scientist in the field of Computational Genomics. He is member of advisory boards of many Bioinformatics and Genomics institutions, including the European Bioinformatics Institute. In addition to the NIH lead ENCODE project, Roderic Guigo participates or has participated in many European and International projects. 


The interplay of active and repressive histone modifications is assumed to have a key role in the regulation of gene expression. In contrast to this generally accepted view, we show that the transcription of genes temporally regulated during fly and worm development occurs in the absence of canonically active histone modifications. Conversely, strong chromatin marking is related to transcriptional and post-transcriptional stability, an association that we also observe in mammals. Our results support a model in which chromatin marking is associated with the stable production of RNA, whereas unmarked chromatin would permit rapid gene activation and deactivation during development. In the latter case, regulation by transcription factors would have a comparatively more important regulatory role than chromatin marks.