Jorge Ruiz Orera receives one of the Doctoral School PhD Special Awards from the PhD Programme in Biomedicine of the Pompeu Fabra University

During the 2016-2017 academic year, 106 PhD theses were read and eight of them have been awarded

During the 2016-2017 academic year, 106 PhD theses were read and eight of them have been awarded

Congratulations to Jorge Ruiz Orera, doctoral student at the Evolutionary Genomics group of GRIB  (IMIM-UPF) for his thesis “Understanding the mechanisms of de novo gene evolution using transcriptomics data”, supervised by Dr. Mar Albà. In his research, he investigated the mechanisms for de novo gene origination and evolution using highthroughput sequencing of complete transcripts and ribosome-protected fragments. The thesis identifies thousands of new de novo genes in human, chimpanzee, and mouse and presents evidence that these genes are mostly expressed from recently arisen promoters. It also shows that a large number of poorly conserved genes, including genes previously believed to be non-coding, are translated and finds a link between the capacity of a sequence to be translated and its nucleotide sequence composition. This doctoral research shows that there is abundant raw material for de novo birth of new functional proteins, and hence, its results contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of gene evolution. This thesis has been awarded with the International PhD Mention.

Selected publications from the thesis:

1. Ruiz-Orera J, Hernandez-Rodriguez J, Chiva C, Sabidó E, Kondova I, Bontrop R, Marqués-Bonet T, Albà MM. Origins of Genes in Human and Chimpanzee. PLoS Genetics, 11(12): e1005721, 2015.

2. Ruiz-Orera J, Verdaguer-Grau P, Villanueva-Cañas JL, Messeguer X, Albà MM. Translation of neutrally evolving peptides provides a basis for de novo gene evolution. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2: 890-896, 2018.

The PhD Programme in Biomedicine run by the DCEXS (UPF) currently enrols 428 doctoral students. During the 2016-2017 academic year, a total of 106 PhD theses were read and their corresponding examination committees put 32 of them forward to compete for the PhD Special Awards. Eight of them have been awarded and the awards ceremony will take place during the 2019 UPF Graduation Ceremony for master’s and doctoral degree student