UCL Division of Biosciences


CBER/UGI Joint Seminar - Professor Mar Alba, Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute

29 March 2023, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Title: 'Nature Inventing New Genes'

Event Information

Open to

UCL staff | UCL students | UCL alumni




Leo Speidel


Watson LT
Medawar Building

Abstract: During evolution genes are continuously gained and lost, contributing to the adaptation of the organism to a changing environment. New genes can originate from already existing genes or gene parts, one prime mechanism being gene duplication followed by sequence divergence. But they can also arise de novo from previously non-genic parts of the genome. Recent studies indicate that de novo gene origination is much more prevalent than previously thought, with hundreds or thousands of recently originated de novo genes in each species. The encoded proteins have completely new sequences and show compositional biases related to their non-coding origin. High throughput screening data indicate that, despite their recent origin, many of them are likely to be functional. The talk will address the most recent developments in the field and the challenges ahead.

About the Speaker

Professor Mar Alba

Director of GRIB (IMIM) at Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute

M. Mar Albà is an ICREA Research Professor at the Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute (IMIM), head of the Evolutionary Genomics group and Director of GRIB (IMIM side). 

M. Mar Albà's group is interested in understanding the regulation and evolution of the transcriptome and the proteome. The group uses high throughput sequencing of mRNAs as well as ribosome profiling techniques to measure the levels of protein expression in the cells and to discover new, non-annotated, translation events. 

More about Professor Mar Alba