Life Science Hour Seminar Series

Name:Melissa Wilson Sayres
Affiliation:Arizona State University
Title:Sex-biased genome evolution
Date:Friday, 17 November 2017
Location:Murie Life Science Bldg, Murie Auditorium.
Host:Devin Drown


The human sex chromosome evolved from a pair of homologous autosomes, and are unlike any other pair of chromosomes within the human genome. While many parts of the X and Y chromosomes have diverged from one another, there are still some regions that share significant sequence homology, and others, the pseudoautosomal regions, that still undergo homologous recombination in genetic males. This unique evolutionary history results in technical challenges for genome alignment analysis of NGS data. I will present an overview of the evolutionary history of the human X and Y, and then present new methodology to improve genomic and transcriptomic analyses of the sex chromosomes.

About the Speaker:

Melissa Wilson Sayres is an evolutionary and computational biologist at Arizona State University, trained in the biology of sex chromosome evolution and population genetics. After finishing her B.S. in Mathematics at Creighton University, she transitioned to studying biology at Penn State University, then conducted research as a Miller Fellow – an independent postdoctoral scholar fellowship – in the Departments of Integrative Biology and Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley. Since starting her faculty position, Wilson Sayres has continued to study genetic variation within and across species on the sex chromosomes, and is expanding into using evolutionary principles to understand human health and disease. This includes modeling tumor progression, and studying the role of variation on the sex chromosomes in breast, liver, and prostate cancer. Outside of lab, Wilson Sayres is active in science outreach and mentoring trainees of all levels.

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