Fungal Evolutionary Genomics Group
Michael F Seidl
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Fungi are eukaryotic microorganisms with a cosmopolitan distribution. They can rapidly adapt to changing or challenging environments, and thus thrive in a variety of environmental niches. Some fungi can live as symbionts in mutualistic to parasitic interactions with other organisms. Tight interactions especially between pathogens and their hosts drive rapid adaptive genome evolution in host and pathogen populations.
The Fungal Evolutionary Genomics group uses comparative genomics approaches complemented by wet lab experiments to understand genome evolution and function, and how fungi adapt to novel or altered environments, both on short and long evolutionary timescales.
The main focus of the group is to understand the evolution of genomic architecture. For this, we exploit the newest sequencing technologies to uncover molecular mechanisms and processes that establish genetic diversity, ranging from structural variations over transposable elements to genome hybridizations. Furthermore, we study the evolution of chromatin regulatory mechanisms and resolve genome-wide chromatin maps to understand how chromatin influences genome function and evolution.
Our group is especially interested in the evolution of pathogens as they need to rapidly diversify during co-evolutionary arms race with their hosts. We focus on oomycete and fungal plant pathogens and unravel their emergence and global dissemination as well as the molecular mechanisms that foster pathogen diversity and adaptation. We are especially interested in the evolution of effector genes – the tools used by pathogens to subvert host immune systems.
Five key publications
Stress and sexual reproduction affect the dynamics of the wheat pathogen effector AvrStb6 and strobilurin resistance
Kema GHJ, Mirzadi Gohari A, Aouini L, Gibriel HAY, Ware SB, van den Bosch F, Manning- Smith R, Alonso-Chavez V, Helps J, Ben M'Barek S, Mehrabi R, Diaz-Trujillo C, Zamani E, Schouten HJ, van der Lee TAJ, Waalwijk C, de Waard MA, de Wit PJGM, Verstappen ECP, Thomma BPHJ, Meijer HJG and Seidl MF
Nat Genet. 2018 50(3): 375-380
Evolution within the fungal genus Verticillium is characterized by chromosomal rearrangement
and gene loss
Shi-Kunne X, Faino L, van den Berg GCM, Thomma BPHJ and Seidl MF
Environ Microbiol. 2018 20(4): 1362-1373
Transposable elements direct the coevolution between plants and microbes
Seidl MF and Thomma BPHJ
Trends Genet. 2017 33(11): 842-851
Chromatin biology impacts adaptive evolution of filamentous plant pathogens
Seidl MF, Cook DE and Thomma BPHJ
PLoS Pathogens 2016 3(12): e1005920
Transposons passively and actively contribute to evolution of the
two-speed genome of a fungal pathogen
Faino L, Seidl MF, Shi-Kunne X, Pauper M, van den Berg GC, Wittenberg AH and Thomma BPHJ
Genome Res. 2016 26(8): 1091-100.
Michael F Seidl, Principal Investigator
Nick C Snelders, PostDoc+
Edgar Chavarro Carrero, PhD candidate+
Petros Skiadas, PhD candidate
David Torres Sanchez, PhD candidate
Anouk van Westerhoven , PhD candidate*
Xin Zhang, PhD candidate
Alejendro Baars, MSc student
Pim Swart, MSc student
Sofía Riera Vidal, MSc student
*joint projects with Wageningen University & Research, the Netherlands
+joint project with University of Cologne, Germany