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Research interests

Are synonymous mutations under selection and if so why?  Are genomes randomly arranged assemblages of genes or is gene order non-random? Why are most genes apparently “redundant”?  My research approaches these and related questions employing mathematical, bioinformatical, systems biological and experimental tools.

Two classes of problem stand out. On the one hand there are features of genetic systems that appear counter-intuitive.  Why, for example, do many single celled organisms have just two mating types and inherit their organelles from just one parent, even when both gametes are the same size? On the other hand I wish to understand whether genes, genomes and genetic systems are shaped by selection (and if so why) or whether they are neutrally evolving traits. I have shown, for example, how the genetic code is well structured to minimize the effects of mistranslation. More recently I have been concerned with the evolution of isochores, of redundancy, of gene content, of selection on synonymous mutations (and codon usage bias) and gene order evolution. A decade ago it was considered that in mammals both gene order and synonymous mutations were neutrally evolving. The research of my group has been important in overturning these positions.  Gene order evolution and mechanisms for selection on synonymous mutations are the focus of much of our current work.

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Genes Medicine & Life Sciences
gene Earth & Environmental Sciences
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Introns Medicine & Life Sciences
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mutation Earth & Environmental Sciences
genes Agriculture & Biology
Exons Medicine & Life Sciences

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Projects 2004 2021

Genome
Transgenes
Mutation
Gene Transfer Techniques
Intergenic DNA

Elucidating the Role of Long Non-coding RNAs

Hurst, L.

1/07/1630/06/19

Project: Research council

Long Noncoding RNA
Untranslated RNA
Small Untranslated RNA
Inflammation
Human Genome Project

Research Output 2000 2019

A century of bias in genetics and evolution

Hurst, L., 29 Jan 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Heredity.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

The architecture of intra-organism mutation rate variation in plants

Hurst, L., 9 Apr 2019, In : PLoS Biology. 17, 4, p. e3000191 29 p., e3000191.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
2 Citations (Scopus)

Endogenous Stochastic Decoding of the CUG Codon by Competing Ser- and Leu-tRNAs in Ascoidea asiatica

Mühlhausen, S., Schmitt, H. D., Pan, K. T., Plessmann, U., Urlaub, H., Hurst, L. D. & Kollmar, M., 9 Jul 2018, In : Current Biology. 28, 13, p. 2046-2057.e5

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Ascoidea
RNA, Transfer, Ser
RNA, Transfer, Leu
codons
Codon
4 Citations (Scopus)

Epistasis analysis uncovers hidden antibiotic resistance-associated fitness costs hampering the evolution of MRSA

Yokoyama, M., Stevens, E., Laabei, M., Bacon, L., Heesom, K., Bayliss, S., Ooi, N., O'Neill, A. J., Murray, E., Williams, P., Lubben, A., Reeksting, S., Meric, G., Pascoe, B., Sheppard, S. K., Recker, M., Hurst, L. D. & Massey, R. C., Jul 2018, In : Genome Biology. 19, 1, 94.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
epistasis
antibiotic resistance
Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus
Microbial Drug Resistance
Mupirocin
2 Citations (Scopus)

Exonic splice regulation imposes strong selection at synonymous sites

Savisaar, R. & Hurst, L., 24 Aug 2018, In : Genome Research.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Mutation
Inborn Genetic Diseases
Genetic Selection
Codon
Nucleotides

Thesis

Assessing selective processes acting on allele frequencies, genomic organisation, gene expression profiles in eukaryotic genomes

Author: Wang, W., 10 May 2015

Supervisor: Urrutia, A. (Supervisor) & Hurst, L. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD

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Comparative and functional analysis of alternative splicing in eukaryotic genomes

Author: Chen, L., 23 Mar 2012

Supervisor: Urrutia, A. (Supervisor) & Hurst, L. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD

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Conflict and the Evolution of Genetic Systems

Author: Randerson, J., 1 Dec 2001

Supervisor: Hurst, L. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD

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Developing Arabidopsis thaliana as a model for use in conservation genetics

Author: Priest, A., 1 Sep 2014

Supervisor: Kover, P. (Supervisor) & Hurst, L. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD

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Development and evaluation of resources for teaching evolution in primary schools

Author: Buchan, L., 29 May 2019

Supervisor: Martin, S. (Supervisor), Hejmadi, M. (Supervisor) & Hurst, L. (Supervisor)

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD

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