Programmed DNA elimination in copepods: a novel genome editing tool?

Project specs






Grace Wyngaard






Certain copepods possess a unique ability: removing large portions of DNA from their genome during embryogenesis in each generation, resulting in smaller and reorganized genomes in their somatic cells, while the germline remains unchanged. Hypothesised roles include defence against transposable, gene regulation, nucleotypic effects and DNA recycling. DNA elimination may provide powerful genome editing tools for genetic diseases, agriculture, and biotechnology. The copepod model system is advancing research in DNA excision and repair.

Researcher Profile

Collaborations between Russian and American scientists were inspired by Sigrid Beermann’s (1977) dissertation on 3 closely related species of Cyclops and Uli Einsle’s survey of the trait in Cyclops species (1993). Since then, copepod biologists on two sides of the world – Aleksii Akif’ev, Maxim Zagoskin, Andrey Grishanin, and Natalya Sheveleva in Russia and Ellen Rasch and Grace Wyngaard and her students in the US have collaborated on histological and genomic studies. In the scheme of big ideas these investigators aim to understand how organisms maintain genome stability and to discover powerful mechanisms of genome engineering in the face of transposable elements that behave differently in different species.

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