Evolutionary genomics

Evolutionary genomics

Research in the Evolutionary Genomics Group led by M. Mar Albà, focuses on the use of comparative genomics and transcriptomics to gain an understanding on the evolution of new genes and proteins. Mar Albà is an ICREA professor and the group is located in the Hospital del Mar Research Institute. The work is supported by the ERC Advanced Grant NovoGenePop as well as two grants from the Spanish Government.

Main Research lines

1. De novo gene birth

The group is performing research on the mechanisms of formation of new genes, with a special emphasis on de novo gene birth. We have shown that proteins that have evolved de novo from previously non-coding parts of the genome tend to be small and positively charged, and that many of them are species-specific. We are investigating the process of the de novo gene birth at very short time scales using population data.

2. Identification of novel classes of tumor-specific antigens

We are investigating gene and protein expression in cancer cells with the objective of identifying novel classes of tumor-specific antigens that may trigger an immune response against the tumor, and which could be useful to develop new anti-cancer vaccines. For this we combine information from transcriptomics, ribosome profiling and immunopeptidomics.

Highlighted publications

Camarena, M.E., Theunissen, P., Ruiz, M., Ruiz-Orera, J., Calvo-Serra, B., Castelo, R., Sarobe, P., Fortes, P.# , Perera-Bel, J.# , Albà, M.M.# (2023) Non-canonical ORFs are an important source of tumor-specific antigens in a liver cancer meta-cohort. bioRxiv, Nov 1 2023. # Co-corresponding

Montañés, J.C., Huertas, M., Messeguer, X., Albà, M.M. (2023). Evolutionary trajectories of new duplicated and putative de novo genes. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 40(5):msad098.

William R. Blevins, Jorge Ruiz-Orera, Xavier Messeguer, Bernat Blasco-Moreno, José Luis Villanueva-Cañas, Lorena Espinar, Juana Díez, Lucas B. Carey, M.Mar Albà (2021) Uncovering de novo gene birth in yeast using deep transcriptomics. Nature Communications 12:604.


Group website

For more details please go to http://evolutionarygenomics.upf.edu/

Research groups

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Functional Genomics

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