Horizontal gene transfer

The driving force behind the evolution of plant parasitic nematodes?

Nematodes are the most abundant animals on earth. Recently, a number of nematode cell wall-degrading enzymes, such as cellulase, have been cloned. Surprisingly, these nematode enzymes display strikingly similarities towards bacterial genes instead of eukaryotic ones.

To test whether these genes have been acquired from bacteria through horizontal gene transfer, firstly, the distribution of CWDE genes in the whole phylum of Nematoda will be investigated. Secondly, it will be studied whether CWDE sequences are physically clustered in ‘pathogenicity islands’. 

Techniques                                                               

  • RNA and DNA isolation
  • Genome walking and RACE
  • Bioinformatics analysis
  • BAC library construction and screening
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
  • Cloning and sequencing 

Depending on your own interests and background, there are several different aspects that can be studied related to the above described project