Sex, Genes and Diplomonads: The Evolution of Sex-related Genes in Hexamita inflata – Begüm Serra Büyüktarakçı


Begüm Serra Büyütarakçı

After I completed BSc at Boğaziçi University, Molecular Biology and Genetics department, I moved to Sweden for MSc and studied Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University. Meanwhile, I got interested in bioinformatics and focused on phylogenetic analysis in the thesis of my master’s degree. I am currently working as a research assistant in Molecular Evolution group of Jan Andersson at Biomedical Centre (BMC), Uppsala University.


Sexual reproduction is widespread among eukaryotes however it is not very wellknown outside of the animals, land plants and fungi kingdoms. Metamonada, a phylum of single-celled eukaryotes, comprises diverse lineages including diplomonads. Some members of diplomonads have been assumed to be asexual, though the presence of putative meiotic genes were reported in recent studies. I applied a comparative phylogenomic approach to clarify the occurrence of sexual life cycle in diplomonads. Here, I surveyed the sets of sex-related genes in the ongoing Hexamita inflata genome project. The inventory of sex-related genes was compiled based on the major sexual processes: cell fusion (plasmogamy), nuclear fusion (karyogamy) and meiosis. My analysis showed that H. inflata encodes karyogamy protein, Gex1 but not the plasmogamy protein, Hap2. Putatively meiosis specific genes: Spo11, Dmc1, Hop2 and Mnd1 were identified in H. inflata genome. Based on my findings, H. inflata possesses Mer3/Hfm1 gene which is required during meiotic crossover formation and postmeiotic genes (Mlh2/Pms1 and Mad2). I hypothesize that H. inflata is capable of some sex-related processes such as nuclear fusion and meiotic inter-homolog recombination. My results indicate that the sex machinery varies among diplomonads and other Metamonada based on the wide distribution of sex-related genes.

Date: September 30th, 2020 – 4:00 pm (GMT+3)

Language: English

To register the webinar, you can visit this link:

Leave a Reply