BMBS COST Action BM1102
Ciliates as model systems to study genome evolution, mechanisms of non-Mendelian inheritance, and their roles in environmental adaptation
Darwinian selection of random mutations is considered the driving force for evolution. However, it is now clear that acquired characters can also be transmitted from one generation to the next through non-Mendelian inheritance, with influence on cell differentiation and occurrence of diseases. Important questions are whether environmental changes can induce such epigenetic variation and if these variations drive adaptation. Research on ciliates has greatly contributed to unraveling the molecular mechanisms of non-Mendelian heredity. These unicellular eukaryotes constitute excellent models to study basic biological processes. We propose the organization of an innovating, highly interacting, dynamic European research network focusing on epigenetics, genome evolution and ecology of ciliates. The aim of this COST Action is to obtain solid evidence for the role of epigenetic phenomena in environmental adaptation. Participants will be from 9 COST countries, with the possible addition of non-COST countries for mutual benefits. A European network of ciliate molecular biologists will improve the quality of the research and training of young scientists on the continent, and will provide greater visibility for European research. The knowledge expected to be produced through the Action will likely be of use to other researchers in the fields of genetics, genome evolution, population genetics, environmental sciences, cell differentiation and health.
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