What we do
We are interested in resolving the following questions:
- Which genomic regions are functional - In most plant genomes, genic and regulatory sequences only a relatively small component of the genome compared to presumed junk DNA. With RNA-sequencing, it is discovered that a significant part of the intergenic regions is transcribed (e.g. in Arabidopsis thaliana, figure on the right). Does this transcription represent activity of novel genes or biological noise? We are interested in answering this question.
- What the fate and consequences of gene duplication - Genes in genome typically have relatives that derived from duplication events that involved only one gene or the entire genome (see right figure). We are interested in finding out how long duplicate genes survive, how the functions of survived duplicates have evolved, why some duplicate copies (e.g. transcription factors in some cases) tend to be retained.
- What is the "regulatory code" of plant gene expression - Gene expression is tightly regulated so gene products can be made at specific time, locations, and conditions and at a specific level. Thus the knowledge on how genes are regulated is important for understanding how transcription affect developmental processes and stress response and for potential biotechnological applications. We are interested in applying systems biology approaches to use properties of genomic sequences to establish a "cis-regulatory code" that can predict gene expression.
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