The goal of my research is to characterize patterns of molecular evolution within protein coding genes in the understudied ciliate clade Heterotrichea. To accomplish this goal, I sequenced three protein coding genes from three representatives of the Heterotrichea. Previous work demonstrates a correlation between the level of somatic, macronuclear genome processing and the level of divergence among copies of protein coding genes. In these studies, which included very few heterotrich ciliates, the most divergent paralogs (duplicated copies of genes) are present in ciliates with extensively fragmented somatic genomes. I tested the hypothesis that proteins in heterotrich ciliates accumulate fewer amino acid substitutions than those in extensively fragmenting ciliates.
Lyman, Christina, "Unusual patterns of genome evolution in the ciliate clade Heterotrichea" (2008). Honors Project, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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