CPSC Lecture by Yves Van de Peer – University of Copenhagen

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CPSC Lecture by Yves Van de Peer

Professor Yves Van de Peer from VIB/Ghent University in Belgium will give a CPSC Lecture on 23 June at 15.00-16.00 in lecture room A2-70.03.

"Of dups and dinos: evolution at the K/Pg boundary"

Genome sequencing has demonstrated that besides frequent small-scale duplications, large-scale duplication events such as whole genome duplications (WGDs) are found on many branches of the evolutionary tree of life. Especially in the plant lineage, there is evidence for recurrent WGDs, and the ancestor of all angiosperms was in fact most likely a polyploid species.

The number of WGDs found in sequenced plant genomes allows us to investigate questions about the roles of WGDs that were hitherto impossible to address. An intriguing observation is that many plant WGDs seem associated with periods of increased environmental stress and/or fluctuations, a trend that is evident for both present-day polyploids and palaeopolyploids formed around the Cretaceous–Palaeogene (K–Pg) extinction at 66 Ma.

I will revisit the WGDs in plants that mark the K–Pg boundary, and discuss some specific examples of biological innovations and/or diversifications that may be linked to these WGDs. I will review evidence for the processes that could have contributed to increased polyploid establishment at the K–Pg boundary, and discuss the implications on subsequent plant evolution in the Cenozoic.

About Yves Van de Peer
Professor in Bioinformatics and Genome Biology at Ghent University, Belgium. Yves Van de Peer did his PhD studies at Department of Biochemistry, University of Antwerp in Belgium on the topic of 'Ribosomal RNA as a tool in molecular evolution'.

Afterwards he worked as a postdoc at the same university and went on to become Assistant-Professor in the Research group Evolutionary Biology at the Department of Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany.

In 2002 he became a full professor at Ghent University where he is still working. He is, however, also Adjunct Professor at the University of Western, London, Ontario (CA), at the Departments of Biology and Computer Science and has recently been appointed part time Professor at the University of Pretoria, at the Genomics Research Institute.

Yves Van de Peer Peer is an evolutionary biologist and a bioinformatician. He is interested in using bioinformatics approaches to study the evolution of organisms, genes and genomes. Regarding genome structure and evolution, he is particularly interested in the study of gene and genome duplications as well as in the evolution of novel gene functions after duplication. 

Read more about the Yves Van de Peer Lab at VIB.